Asia Pacific

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. Facing challenges in a stagnating economy, the younger generations have developed a deeper political awareness from a sense of marginalisation from political decision-making processes.

Singapore Maintains the Appearance of Democracy

When Lee Hsien Loong collapsed during the National Day Rally speech on 21 August 2016, it shocked not only many Singaporeans, but also leaders from around the world. Although he recovered quickly and was able to finish his speech after a short break, the incident drew attention to the issue of leadership succession in a country that has long experienced predictable politics with little change.

Is Japan at the End of the Monetary Rope?

Japan’s monetary gamble and Abenomics are approaching the end of the road. Neither Brussels nor Washington is immune to the adverse consequences of Tokyo's monetary exhaustion, says Dan Steinbock.

Recently, Japan’s second quarter GDP growth was revised up to 0.7 percent, after four consecutive quarters of stagnation. However, don’t set your hopes too high.

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.

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.

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?

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.

Mahathir shook hands with his former ally turned nemesis and both exchanged pleasantries. He wished Anwar well and prayed for the jailed opposition leader’s success. They talked for a good 45 minutes in the witness room — a long time indeed for two bitter foes.

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.

By One Standard, Indonesians Fall Behind Academically Early On

Indonesia has consistently underperformed in the Program for International Student Assessment test — a standardised test administered by the OECD to measure the academic performance of 15 year olds.

More recently, the OECD also administered the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) tests for individuals aged 15–65. The results for Indonesia were similarly underwhelming.