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Story of young fire fighters wins Monte-Carlo prize

Japan’s public broadcaster NHK has won a major prize at this year’s Monte-Carlo Television Festival for a drama about young fire fighters in the Great Tokyo Air Raid.

The program “Battlefield Tokyo” won the special Monaco Red Cross Prize. The 88-minute drama portrays the lives of young fire fighters who fought “a sea of flames” which engulfed the Japanese capital during the air raid on 10 March 1945, in the final months of the Second World War. 

“Some were engineering and medical students whose conscription had been deferred. Others had not even turned 18,” said the producers. “Recruited just days before the raid, they were almost untrained and didn’t even know where hydrants were located. This drama tells the story of the youngsters who faced the onslaught of the firebombing and risked their lives to save others amid the tragedy of war.”

Other recent wins at Monte-Carlo for ABU member NHK have included Yasu: A Single Father’s Story (Golden Nymph for best mini-series, 2012), Threads of Our Hearts (AMADE Prize, 2011) and Goldfish (Golden Nymph for best TV movie, 2010).

“Top of the Lake”, a critically acclaimed Australian co-production, won best miniseries, best actor and best actress awards. The drama was developed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation – also an ABU member – and ultimately co-produced by Australia’s UKTV, BBC Two and the United States’ Sundance channel.