Asia Pacific

Japan Gender Gap Scorecard


Women in Japan voted and stood for office for the first time on 10 April 1946. It was the country’s first postwar election and the first election after the Japanese government amended the Electoral Law to include women. Of the 79 female candidates, 39 were elected to Japan’s national parliament, the Diet.

Seventy years on, what is the state of gender relations in Japan? What issues now stimulate feminist campaigns and activism?

Can President Xi's Administration Wipe Out Poverty?


China has had remarkable success in alleviating poverty. According to World Bank statistics, over the past several decades China has accounted for more than 70 percent of reductions in global poverty. The poverty-stricken population in China has plunged from 770 million people in 1978 — the year before economic reforms began — to 55.8 million in 2015. In addition, the Human Development Index (HDI) for China has improved by 43 percent between 1990 and 2013, compared to an improvement of 17.6 percent globally.

Government Support of SMEs would keep Vietnam's Garment Industry Humming


Vietnam has transformed from one of the world’s poorest countries to a lower middle-income economy in just 25 years. Beginning in 1986, Vietnam undertook key structural reforms in various areas, including state-owned enterprise (SOE) reform, private sector development, financial reform, public expenditure management and trade liberalisation.

The World Bank predicts that Vietnam could be at the same income level that Malaysia is today by 2035 if the government embraced a number of further structural and institutional reforms.

Takedown: Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak


Last week the US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced that it was taking action to seek ‘the forfeiture and recovery of more than US$1 billion in assets’ related to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). This action will likely start the process that will eventually lead to the removal of Najib Razak, Malaysia’s sixth prime minister.

For China, Investment is not a Two-Way Street


China is unusual in that it is a developing country that has emerged as a major investor. China itself is an important destination for foreign direct investment (FDI), and opening to the outside world has been an important part of its reform program since 1978. However, China’s policy is to steer FDI to particular sectors.

Economic Impact from China's Flooding Grows


After weeks of torrential rain across central and southern China, the mainland has suffered from a series of devastating floods. As the total price tag has soared, the impact will be felt in economic growth.

By mid-July, almost 240 people had lost their lives and nearly 100 were missing, as China’s floods had been compounded by Typhoon Nepartak and a violent tornado. Torrential rains affected 33 million people in 28 provinces, submerging huge areas of cropland.  

Thailand not Quite Prepared for the King's Passing


After some months of uncertainty, a representative from Thailand’s Democrats Party last week declared in a televised seminar that the party would not support the proposed draft constitution in the 7 August referendum. This follows an earlier declaration from the pro-Thaksin Puea Thai party that it also opposed the draft.

You Say You Want a Constitution (Change)


Following the 10 July upper house elections the Abe government now has the two-thirds majority in both houses of the Diet necessary to pass constitutional amendments. So what are the likely consequences?

Four years ago, Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) published a set of proposals for changing the nation’s postwar constitution. Like its earlier draft changes of 2005, they failed to muster enough support to be turned into legislation, let alone come to a vote.

India's Rexit - RBI Governor Rajan Leaves


June suffered from an excess of exits. However, none of them lived up to forecasts of dire consequences, at least for India. For now, Indian markets have shrugged off both Brexit and Rexit — the exit of Governor Raghuram Rajan from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). In addition, the forward-looking nature of markets implies they do not foresee problems due to these exits.