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

Why US military bases divide Okinawa and mainland Japan

Author: Shino Hateruma, Waseda University

Okinawa is trapped in a dilemma regarding US military bases in the prefecture. For the past 70 years, the bases have helped deter external attacks on Japan, including on Okinawa. But with over 25,000 US military personnel in Okinawa, and about 18 per cent of its land area being used by the US military, the presence of the bases endangers the lives and properties of the local people. Read more…

How ethnic nationalism undercuts multiculturalism on the Korean peninsula

Author: Eun Jeong Soh, ANU

North and South Korea are widely regarded to be ethnically homogenous societies. But with minority populations having grown 
in numbers and importance in both Koreas, demographic homogeneity has become a myth. Read more…

The Abe administration outmanoeuvres JA in Japan’s local elections

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra

The Abe administration’s policy of separating the organisational interests of JA-Zenchu, the peak body of agricultural cooperatives (JA), from the interests of the prefectural central unions (chūōkai) and local cooperatives and farmers generally paid off in April’s local government elections. Read more…

ASEAN unity an institution for Asian stability

Author: John Blaxland, ANU

The dynamics at work in ASEAN are an under‐appreciated but crucial component of the Asia Pacific’s geo‐political equation. Understanding these dynamics offers insights for policymakers reviewing the United States’ rebalance to Asia. Read more…

Carrot and stick tactics fail to calm China’s ethnic antagonism

Author: James Leibold, La Trobe University

For centuries the Chinese state has governed its distant ethnic frontiers with both carrot and stick. In the past, emperors proffered ‘imperial grace’ (ēn) for those ‘barbarians’ willing to submit (at least nominally) to Chinese dominion, while reserving the right of ‘imperial might’ (wēi) for those who resisted. Read more…

India’s renewed push into the Indian Ocean

Author: Rupakjyoti Borah, India

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka reflects New Delhi’s changed foreign policy priorities. It signals that India is no longer willing to be outmanoeuvred in the Indian Ocean region — its strategic backyard. Read more…

China needs to strengthen its AIIB balancing act

Authors: Kai He, University of Copenhagen; and Huiyun Feng, DIIS.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has become part of Xi Jinping’s ‘Chinese Dream’ of national rejuvenation. The United States’ failure to block other developed economies from joining the AIIB seems to have brought this part of the ‘Chinese dream’ closer to its realisation. But it is way too early to celebrate. Read more…

Mr Abe in Washington

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s week-long visit to the United States this week and his speech on Wednesday to a joint session of the US Congress represent an unusual opportunity for Japan’s diplomacy. Abe is the first Japanese prime minister to address a joint meeting of Congress. Read more…

Japanese war apologies lost in translation

Author: Tessa Morris-Suzuki, ANU

15 August 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War. It should be a solemn moment for reflection on a terrible episode that took many millions of lives, inflicted untold suffering and had consequences that still profoundly shape our world. Read more…

The rights of the right as Abe strives for collective self-defence

Author: Ben Ascione, ANU

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) are negotiating with their coalition partner, Komeito, to introduce legislation recognising a limited exercise of collective self-defence. There is rising anxiety about how this endeavour is perceived by Japan’s neighbours and what effect this will have on regional stability, given the Abe cabinet’s right-wing revisionist views of Japan’s history. Read more…

Lessons of Tambora ignored, 200 years on

Author: Anthony Reid, ANU

Today Australia will commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli landing, which for many Australians symbolises one of the greatest man-made catastrophes. But there’s another anniversary this April that gives cause for reflection: the bicentenary of the eruption on 10 April 1815 of Tambora Mountain in southeastern Indonesia. Read more…

China leading by example in South–South relations

Author: Daniel Poon, UNCTAD

China’s revival of ‘South–South’ economic relations raises the opportunity of re-balancing global power. This could have profound implications for economic progress, including poverty reduction and structural change, in the developing world. Read more…

How Indonesia reformed its risky financial sector

Author: Anwar Nasution, University of Indonesia

Reforms of the financial sector in Indonesia since 1997 have mitigated the key risk factors that caused the economic crisis of 1997. The first of these was structural weaknesses in the financial sector, particularly the banking system. The second was heavy borrowing by both the banking system and the corporate sector from foreign sources. Read more…

Can trade agreements stop currency manipulation?

Author: Kemal Derviş, Brookings Institution

It is impossible to deny that trade and exchange rates are closely linked. But does that mean that international trade agreements should include provisions governing national policies that affect currency values? Read more…

Breaking the deadlock on the Korean peninsula

Author: Sangsoo Lee, ISDP

With the Six Party Talks — the main multilateral mechanism to negotiate North Korea’s denuclearisation — moribund since December 2008, the North Korean nuclear issue appears increasingly intractable. North Korea has proceeded with its nuclear program and enshrined its nuclear status in its constitution. Read more…