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

Japan’s Democratic Party doomed to opposition

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during his ruling Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) annual party convention in Tokyo (Photo: Reuters/Toru Hanai).

Author: Gerald Curtis, Columbia University

Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, may have taken a hit in the polls over recent weeks, but the prospect that the opposition Democratic Party (DP) might take advantage of his political misfortunes is virtually zero. How is it that DP politicians, many of whom are quite intelligent, have managed to run Japan’s major opposition party into the ground?

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Spotlight on Japan’s seventy-year old constitution

Members of Japan's Self-Defence Forces' infantry unit march during the annual SDF ceremony at Asaka Base, Japan, 23 October 2016 (Photo: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon).

Author: Yuki Tatsumi, Stimson Center

There is more than the usual interest in the seventieth birthday of Japan’s constitution, importantly because of a move to revision of its most unusual and distinguishing feature — Article 9, its famous peace clause. Read more…

The thriving Australia–India partnership

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull shakes hands with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during his ceremonial reception at the forecourt of India's Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential palace in New Delhi, India, 10 April 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Adnan Abidi).

Author: K.V. Kesavan, Observer Research Foundation

Despite its enormous potential, the India–Australia partnership had remained low key for a long time. But since 2014 the two countries have instilled a new dynamism in their relations. Read more…

Timor-Leste’s worrying economic future

Timorese students shout slogans during a protest in front of the Australian embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, 24 March 2016. (Photo: Reuters/Beawiharta).

Author: Damien Kingsbury, Deakin University

Timor-Leste is a country increasingly able to stand on its own two feet. At least, that is the sense within Timor-Leste. Read more…

Are Japan and China competing in the Middle East?

A navy soldier (L) of People's Liberation Army (PLA) stands guard as Chinese citizens board the naval ship ‘Linyi’ at a port in Aden, Yemen, 29 March 2015. (Photo: Reuters/Stringer).

Author: Yoram Evron, University of Haifa

Over the years, China and Japan have followed very different paths of involvement in the Middle East. The one policy that both countries have consistently shared though is steering well clear of the region’s politics and conflicts. This is starting to change. Read more…

Trump’s economic plan would be hostage to the almighty dollar

US President Donald Trump looks up while hosting a House and Senate leadership lunch at the White House in Washington, DC, US, 1 March 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque).

Author: Warwick McKibbin, ANU

The best indicator of the Trump administration’s economic agenda can be gleaned from candidate Trump’s ’Contract with America’. That Contract suggests that President Trump has a right-wing agenda on social, environmental and immigration policy and a left-wing agenda on trade and economic policy. Read more…

Border conflict no match for Sino–Myanmar relations

Rebel soldiers of Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) patrol near a military base in Kokang region, Myanmar, 10 March 2015. (Photo: Reuters/Stringer).

Author: Enze Han, SOAS

Conflict has flared up again in the Kokang region along the Sino–Myanmar border, leading to the deaths of at least 30 people and the outflowing of more than 20,000 refugees from Myanmar into China’s Yunnan province. Read more…

Hasina defrosting India–Bangladesh ties

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina clap during signing ceremony of agreements between India and Bangladesh in Dhaka 6 June 2015. (Photo: Reuters/Rafiqur Rahman).

Author: Sumit Kumar, Pondicherry University

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s state visit to India from 7 to 10 April signalled a remarkable movement in the relationship between the two countries. Nearly seven years after Hasina’s last trip to India, the visit was of such importance that protocol was set aside and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally received Hasina at Palam airport in New Delhi. Read more…

Jakarta’s gubernatorial election wash-up

Supporters of Anies Baswedan during the election count, Jakarta, 19 April, 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Beawiharta).

Author: Emirza Adi Syailendra, RSIS

A hard-fought election for Jakarta’s governorship has revealed new leaders in Indonesia’s political landscape. Final quick-count results showed a double-digit victory margin for former education minister Anies Baswedan over controversial incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (better known as ‘Ahok’). The election has proved divisive, indicating a split between those who voted on performance and others who voted on identity politics. Read more…

Japan’s constitutional revision debate masks silent state control

Protests against Article 9 revisions outside Prime Minster Shinzo Abe's official residence in Tokyo, 15 May, 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Yuya Shino).

Author: Toshiya Takahashi, ANU

Japan’s current constitutional revision debate is a silent challenge against freedoms espoused by the 1947 constitution. While Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has set aside revision of the controversial Article 9 peace clause for the moment, his administration’s inclination towards state control of civil liberties will shadow any future revision process. Read more…

The world needs RCEP

US Vice President Mike Pence is greeted by ASEAN Secretary-General Le before a meeting with ASEAN permanent representatives at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia, 20 April, 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Mast Irham/Pool).

Author: Yizhe (Daniel) Xie, Waseda University

Global trade needs a win to fend off rising tides of protectionism and anti-globalisation. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) offers the best ammunition to achieve this. Read more…

Farm loan waivers spell trouble for Uttar Pradesh

India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yogi Adityanath takes the oath as the new Chief Minister of India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh during a swearing-in ceremony in Lucknow, India, 19 March 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Pawan Kumar).

Author: Rajiv Kumar, Pahle India Foundation

A loan waiver for small farmers is the first policy to be pushed by Uttar Pradesh’s newly elected cabinet under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. The waiver stands to benefit about 18.3 million farming households and extend the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) footprint deep into the rural countryside. Read more…

Australia’s Chinese reality

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull waves with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to members of the public as they walk along the Sydney Harbour foreshore in Australia, 25 March 2017. (Photo: Reuters/David Gray).

Author: Hugh White, ANU

Donald Trump is not the cause of the United States’ problems with China, but he makes them worse. His failings as President make it a lot less likely that over the next few years the United States will reach some kind of stable accommodation with the plain reality of Beijing’s power and ambition. Read more…

Trump’s threat to the global trade regime undermines economic and political security

Author: Editors, East Asia Forum

Last Thursday Donald Trump declared steel imports to the United States were a threat to US national security. Read more…

Best of three scenarios for world trade

Author: Razeen Sally, NUS 

International trade is in trouble after the global financial crisis and, with the new Trump administration, the world faces a protectionist onslaught. As a result, there are three ways that international trade can go from here — one considerably ‘more likely’ than the other two. Read more…