Does Japan's Democracy Have Room for Women and Children?

A wave of political activism has animated East Asian politics: Taiwan’s Sunflower Student Movement in 2014, South Korean 2015 street protests against President Park’s new labour law, and protests in Japan in 2015 against Prime Minister Abe’s security bills. Youth activism was common to all these movements.

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A Missed Opportunity for Indonesia

As ASEAN meetings in Vientiane concluded in September 2016, an air of anxiety was already beginning to settle over the Southeast Asian nations. Further resistance against China’s maritime assertiveness in the South China Sea is proving increasingly futile.

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China's Growth Augmented by the Diaspora

In 1995, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade published a 350-page report on overseas Chinese business networks, calling them ‘one of the main forces driving the dynamic growth that characterises the region’. This interest reflected the economic clout of the then 50-odd million diaspora Chinese — living mostly in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and Southeast Asia. In the early 1990s, this diaspora was described as rivalling Japan as a business influence across Asia, with a collective wealth comparable to China’s GDP.

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China's Eventual Leadership Role

For a great power to lead the world there are a few qualities that it should bring to the table. These include, but are not limited to, material strength, an aspiration for recognition, and sufficient international support. Does China currently possess these qualities?

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A Malaysian Odd Couple

On Monday 5 September 2016, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad did the unthinkable. He turned up at the High Court for Anwar Ibrahim’s filing of an interim injunction to stop the enforcement of the newly passed National Security Council (NSC) Act.

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Mixed Results in the Rest of Asia over the BOJ's Policy Decisions

Like other central banks in advanced countries, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) adopted an unconventional monetary policy after the 2007–2009 global financial crisis (GFC). After Prime Minister Abe advocated the new policy regime, Abenomics, the BOJ became highly aggressive in its unconventional policy (see, for example, Fukuda [2015] for details). On 4 April 2013, BOJ Governor Kuroda introduced quantitative and qualitative monetary easing (QQE) and committed to achieve a 2% inflation target in 2 years.

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Teeing Up the Emerging Markets

EM ended last week on a soft note. Perhaps it was the North Korean nuclear test (see below).  Perhaps it was disappointment in the ECB or rising Fed tightening odds. Whatever the trigger was, EM FX weakness persisted and appears likely to carry over into this week.

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Could THAAD Backlash Derail Regional Harmony?

South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s unilateral decision to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missile defence system has sparked serious backlash and protests at home. Many South Korean voters argue that the THAAD’s powerful radar system would make the country a key military target.

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Can Duterte's War on Drugs Succeed Where Thailand's Failed?

The Philippines has scaled up its war on drugs with devastating consequences. President Rodrigo Duterte’s tough talk and anti-drug platform has led to a staggering number of vigilante killings and the mass incarceration of people associated with drug use and its trade. However, we’ve seen this before. 12 years ago, Thailand launched a bloody and ultimately futile war on drugs.

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New RBI Governor Patel Faces Many Challenges

Urjit Patel took over as Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 4 September 2016. At 52 years of age, he is among the youngest to be appointed to the position. Hopefully this is indicative of a broader trend of appointing younger Indians to senior policymaking positions — in line with the nation’s youthful demographic profile.

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China Welcomes the G20 to SimCity

China is gearing up to hold the G20 summit in its eastern city of Hangzhou. It’s a fitting location for the leaders of the world’s 20 leading economies (19 countries and the EU) to meet. Famed for its beauty, Hangzhou is also a key part of one of China’s most entrepreneurial areas, Zhejiang province and a vital contributor to the country’s exports and GDP. Suffice to say, Hangzhou and Zhejiang count for a lot in China.

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