Publication in Economics, Politics and Public Policy in East Asia and the Pacific

Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s U-turn on the Murayama Statement

Author: Karl Gustafsson, Lund University

On Wednesday 15 May, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who had earlier suggested that his Cabinet did not necessarily support the Murayama Statement of apology for Japan’s actions in World War II, clearly stated support for it: ‘My administration upholds the statement as a whole’.

Read more…

Indonesia’s next parliament: celebrities, incumbents and dynastic members?

Authors: Yoes C. Kenawas and Fitriani, RSIS

Earlier this year in April, Indonesian political parties submitted their lists of legislative candidates for the 2014 General Election.

Among the candidates are 10 current Cabinet Ministers,15 relatives of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the wives of two ministers, and 51 celebrities, including models, singers and TV-personalities. Read more…

The unclear fate of the Doha Round

Author: Geethanjali Nataraj, ORF

The 8th World Chambers Congress of the International Chamber of Commerce World Chambers Federation held in Doha, Qatar, on 25 April gave hope for the conclusion to the Doha Round.

The Congress began with a call to break the 12-year-old deadlock on the Round. On the opening day of the event, all the international leaders, including 2000 business delegates, pledged to revive the Doha Round negotiations for the purpose of equitable development. Read more…

The Chinese scramble into Greenland overhyped

Author: Jonas Parello-Plesner, ECFR

In Greenland the snows usually lie until May, but this year in April, looking from the western Greenland settlement of Kangerlussuaq, the bare hillsides were already visible.

Under those slopes sit a wealth of minerals and coveted rare earths, and many Greenlanders believe this bounty is their ticket to prosperity and independence from Denmark.  Read more…

Indonesia’s banking system still needs reform

Author: Anwar Nasution, University of Indonesia

Bank Indonesia’s (BI) recent package of regulations might help the financial industry in the short term by forcing foreign companies to provide capital to Indonesia.

But unfortunately the Bank did not address badly needed structural reforms. Read more…

Malaysia’s election: Barisan Nasional’s paltry win

Author: Arnold Puyok, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak

The recent Malaysian election saw the ruling party Barisan Nasional (BN) retain its hold on power for another term after winning 133 out of 222 federal seats.

Malaysia’s first-past-the-post system sealed BN’s victory, despite the fact that Pakatan Rakyat (PR), the opposing coalition, won 54 per cent of the popular vote over BN’s 46 per cent.

Read more…

Can FTAs support ‘Factory Asia’?

Author: Jayant Menon, ADB and ANU

Free trade agreements (FTAs) have been proliferating in Asia for more than a decade, but international fragmentation of production and resultant cross-border production networks have been growing for a much longer period.

It is by using those networks that Asia first became known as the world’s factory. Read more…

Can Barisan Nasional heal Malaysia’s racial and social divisions?

Author: Huihui Ooi, Brent Scowcroft Center

As expected, the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition won Malaysia’s 5 May election, but not without widespread allegations of electoral fraud, including the use of Bangladeshi migrants as illegal voters and other gerrymandering tactics.

Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition, refused to concede defeat and held a protest rally on 8 May, which was attended by about 100,000 people. Read more…

International migration in Asia’s demographic transition

Author: Graeme Hugo, University of Adelaide

Every day in the Asia Pacific, millions of goods, financial products, services and people flow across borders. These movements are both a cause and consequence of the rapid economic growth enjoyed in the region. But the considerable liberalisation of regulations on capital and goods has not flowed through to international migration, even as masses of people have migrated across Asia. Read more…

China’s next big round of economic reform

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

There is every sign that the new Chinese leadership is contemplating a major round of economic reform comparable to that when Zhu Rongji took China into the WTO more than a decade ago.

China’s accession to the WTO had a profound effect on the global trading and economic system. Read more…

Experimenting with the Chinese currency

Author: Liu Dongmin, IWEP

After becoming the new Chinese leader, Xi Jinping chose Shenzhen as his first visit outside Beijing and made the Qianhai special economic zone his first stop in Shenzhen. This was a clear signal of Qianhai’s position at the forefront of further reform and opening in China. Read more…

Deterring criminals in Papua New Guinea

Author: Sean Jacobs, Canberra

A recent decision by Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) government to strengthen the nation’s criminal code has re-awakened the debate over the role of deterrence in reducing crime.

Much of the commentary surrounding the proposed changes has focused on the reinstatement of the death penalty. Read more…

Big money, big dams: large-scale Chinese investment in Laos

Author: Huw Pohlner, Asialink

Over the last two decades, Chinese governments have approved the construction of a cascade of large dams on the stretches of the Mekong River that lie within its borders, prompting disquiet amongst downstream riparian states.

Those states — Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam — are now set to wage their own battle for control of precious water resources, with China looming large through its role as a willing creditor. Read more…

Myanmar’s anti-Muslim violence: a threat to Chinese and Indian interests

Author: Micha’el Tanchum, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Myanmar’s abundant energy resources and key geostrategic location between India and China has seen a miniature ‘Great Game’ develop since its recent democratic opening and re-entry into the international community.

While several countries have become players in Myanmar’s development, India and China have taken the lead with the construction of multi-billion dollar deepwater ports and energy projects. Read more…

Don’t declare victory for Abenomics yet

Author: Tobias Harris, Cambridge, Massachusetts

With the yen falling to below JPY100/US$1 for the first time since 2009 and the Nikkei posting five-year highs, analysts have begun declaring victory for the Abe administration’s campaign against deflation and slow growth.

But it is far too early to draw conclusions about the success of Abenomics — given that deflation continues — and Read more…