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

Japan’s general election: what the data shows

Supporters of the Liberal Democratic Party react to the speech by Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at an election campaign rally in Tokyo, Japan, 21 October, 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon).

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra

While the term ‘landslide’ has been commonly used in the media to describe the victory of Prime Minister Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Japan’s 2017 lower house election, this description needs some qualification. The LDP was down only six seats overall, but it did lose 18 seats to the ‘new opposition’ Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) and the Party of Hope in single-member districts (SMDs). Read more…

Cambodia’s illiberal democracy swinging towards autocracy

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen gestures as he attends a plenary session at the National Assembly of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, 16 October , 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Samrang Pring).

Author: Carlyle A Thayer, UNSW

Since 2016, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has set about deliberately dismantling his country’s democratic system. Month by month, the country’s political opposition has been eviscerated through a combination of coercion and judicial means, known as ‘lawfare’. Read more…

China’s struggle with the ‘new domestic normal’ and the ‘new international normal’

China's new Politburo Standing Committee members as they meet with the press at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, 25 October, 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Jason Lee).

Author: Wing Thye Woo, UC Davis, Sunway University, Fudan University, and IPLE-CASS

Amid an ailing international order and a substantially lower domestic growth rate, many are sceptical about China’s capacity to commit to ‘growing an open global economy’ as President Xi Jinping has commanded. We see this as an achievable objective, but only if Beijing pursues significant domestic policy realignments as well an ambitious collaboration with foreign countries to revamp international governance arrangements. Read more…

Asia prepares for Trump

US President Donald Trump speaks during a listening session with the Retail Industry Leaders Association and member company CEOs in the Rosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, US, 15 February 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Joshua Roberts).

Author: Editorial Board, East Asia Forum

This week Donald Trump departs for his first trip to Asia as president of the United States.

He is scheduled to visit Japan, South Korea, China, and Vietnam and the Philippines over 13 days, his longest trip yet. Read more…

ASEAN against the world on trade

The skyline of Singapore's central business district is seen at dusk as operations continue at a PSA International port terminal in Singapore, 25 September 2013. (Photo: Reuters/Edgar Su).

Author: M. Chatib Basri, University of Indonesia

The success story of the East Asian economy was about the connection between trade and industrialisation — look at the cases of Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan and Singapore. Trade-oriented industrialisation drove regional economic integration in through trade and investment — and integration into the world economy that was made possible by conducive global economic growth and a relatively open global economy. Read more…

Where to now for Japan after Abe’s landslide win?

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, gestures at an election campaign rally in Tokyo, Japan 21 October 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon).

Author: Purnendra Jain, University of Adelaide

In a master political move, Shinzo Abe has reclaimed a two-thirds majority in Japan’s lower house for his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior coalition partner Komeito through a landslide electoral victory on 22 October. In the process, Abe also precipitated the demise of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) — the successor party of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) which had convincingly displaced the LDP from power in 2009. Read more…

Can ‘Act East’ address Northeast India’s isolation?

A man bathes using a pipe that supplies water to trains at a railway station in Guwahati, India, 12 August 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Anuwar Hazarika).

Author: Prabir De, RIS and AIC

While Northeast India is one of the country’s most economically laggard regions, no other region in India can rival it in terms of the availability of natural resources and its potential for international connectivity. Given its strategic location, bordering on Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar and China, the region could be developed as a base for India’s growing economic links. Read more…

Pakistan in a post-Panama Papers world

A supporter of Pakistan's former prime minister Nawaz Sharif holds his picture during his appearance at the accountability court in connection with the corruption references filed against him, in Islamabad, Pakistan, 26 September 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Faisal Mahmood).

Author: Farooq Yousaf, University of Newcastle

When the Supreme Court of Pakistan removed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from office on 28 July this year as a result of the leaked Panama Papers, many believed that the process of ‘accountability for the rich and influential’ was finally on track. Read more…

Tsai’s mid-term blues

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and Tainan city mayor William Lai attend a news conference in Taipei, Taiwan, 5 September 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Yeh G E).

Author: Sheryn Lee, Macquarie University

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s administration is experiencing the mid-term blues. In July, support for Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) fell to a meagre 23.9 per cent — only marginally higher than support for the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) at 22.5 per cent. A majority of Taiwanese voters were undecided on party identification. Read more…

Immigration the solution to Japan’s population problem

An elderly woman walks past jizo statues, dedicated to the growth of children and grandchildren, which also act as a memorial for miscarried children, decorated with colourful pinwheels and flowers at a Buddhist temple in Tokyo, Japan, 30 June 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Toru Hanai).

Author: Toshihiro Menju, Japan Center for International Exchange

The greatest crisis facing Japan is its population problem. Japan’s population has been on the decline since 2010. In 2015, the population appeared to be shrinking at a rate of 270,000 people per year. Read more…

Multiple risks and limited options on the Korean peninsula

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un visits the Mangyongdae Revolutionary Academy on its 70th anniversary, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang, 13 October 2017 (Photo: Reuters/KCNA).

Author: Ramesh Thakur, ANU

By 2020, North Korea will either be a post-atomic wasteland; an active war zone; or a de facto nuclear-armed state with a fully developed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capability, and grudgingly accepted as such. To paraphrase Churchill’s familiar bon mot on democracy, learning to live with that reality would be the worst outcome, except for all the alternatives. Read more…

Adding ‘5 + 1’ to China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin as Xi's wife Peng Liyuan looks on before a group photo during the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 14 May 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Wang Zhao).

Authors: Biliang Hu, Qingjie Liu and Jiao Yan, Beijing Normal University

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is one of China’s most important contemporary initiatives. Building an effective ‘5 + 1’ platform is crucial to the BRI’s implementation. ‘5 + 1’ refers to cooperation between China and the five countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) — Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia — under the BRI framework. Read more…

Roadblocks to establishing a two-party political system in Japan

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attends a news conference at LDP headquarters after the snap election results, Tokyo, October 23 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Toru Hanai).

Author: Toshiya Takahashi, Shoin University

Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has once again proven its dominance of Japan’s political landscape. Before the election, there was a speculation that the LDP would lose seats amid scandals surrounding Abe and his wife, but this did not eventuate. Instead, the sudden disbandment of the largest opposition party, the Democratic Party (DP), befuddled public attitudes before the election. Read more…

Springtime for South Korea’s democracy

South Korean President Moon Jae-In and Defence Minister Song Young-Moo during a commemoration ceremony marking South Korea's Armed Forces Day, Pyeongtaek, 28 September, 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Jung Yeon-Je).

Author: HeeMin Kim, Seoul National University

Between October 2016 and May 2017, South Korea witnessed a series of political events that were unprecedented in the nation’s history. Within a seven month period, the nation was rocked by the corruption scandal known as Choi Soon-sil-gate, by nationwide candlelight protests by millions of citizens, by a presidential impeachment, by the trials of former president Park Geun-hye and her top advisers and by a presidential election. Read more…

How can China sustain growth?

He Lifeng, Chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), attends a news conference on the sidelines of China's National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, 6 March, 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Thomas Peter).

Authors: Cai Fang and Zhang Xiaojing, CASS

The Chinese economy has entered a ‘new normal’ characterised by slower growth, faster structural change and the transformation of growth drivers. In this new era, the dividends from reforms that increase productivity rather than the accumulation of production factors is the only way for China to achieve sustainable economic development and avoid the middle-income trap. Read more…