1H2017 Review: Japan

1H2017 Review: JapanFor Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, 2017 has been the year that his political credibility came into doubt. A poll conducted by the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper on June 17 and 18 showed that Abe’s approval rating fell 10 points to 36%, and the rate of disapproval reached 44% - his first net negative rating since…

Japan Fields a Powerful New Woman Politician

Japan Fields a Powerful New Woman PoliticianYuriko Koike has been called the most powerful woman in Japan and a potential successor to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. For now she is concentrating on affirming her unquestioned position as the most powerful woman in Tokyo. People of the Japanese capital go to the polls July 2 to choose members of the 127-seat Tokyo…

The Izumo Deployment: Japan’s Hat In the Ring

The Izumo Deployment: Japan’s Hat In the RingThe maiden deployment of Japan’s largest post-WWII warship, the JS Izumo to a South China Sea cruise at a time when the US and China in particular are contesting for political and military primacy in the region has set tongues wagging in many parts of the world, particularly in Beijing.  It is Japan’s biggest foray…

New Mystery For Controversial Japanese Group

New Mystery For Controversial Japanese GroupThe Japanese conglomerate J Trust Group, which has come under the spotlight for a series of financial inconsistencies in Indonesia, Thailand and Cyprus, has added another. On April 14, an apparently frustrated J Trust put out a press release accusing the South Korean Financial Services Commission of refusing to act on a J Trust request…

Can Asia Compete for Regional Airplanes?

Can Asia Compete for Regional Airplanes?The year 2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for commercial airplane makers. Boeing and Airbus, makers of the “big jets,” will introduce new models this year, as will the two big makers of “regional” airliners Brazil’s Embraer and Canada’s Bombardier. Into this busy mix come two Asian aircraft manufacturers, one in China…

A New Asian Great Game Gets Underway

A New Asian Great Game Gets UnderwayNot one but two new Silk Roads are being born from the ashes of the ancient trade routes that were for centuries central to cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent. In effect, a new Great Game – a term used to describe the 19th-century contest for political and diplomatic primacy between Britain and…

Trump Aides Cool Their Jets on Asia

Trump Aides Cool Their Jets on AsiaJapan and South Korea breathed easier following the recent visits from the new US Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, his first to East Asia in his new job.  They were pleased by what he had to say, namely that the Senkaku islands, disputed by China, fall under the protection of the 1960 Security Treaty that…

Deaths from Overwork Plague Japan

Deaths from Overwork Plague JapanIn the spring of 2015 Matsuri Takahashi, 24, joined the Dentsu advertising agency, one of the Japan’s most prestigious but demanding corporations, as a young recruit. Within a few months she was complaining to friends how exhausted she was.  “I want to die” she confided in a social media message to friends. And on Christmas…

Japan’s Female Troika: Potential Prime Ministers

Japan’s Female Troika: Potential Prime MinistersIn fewer than two months over the summer, Japan’s famously male-dominated political system elevated three ambitious women into positions that could become stepping-stones to the prime minister’s office.  Although Japan is now flanked by neighbors such as Taiwan and South Korea, both with women presidents, no Japanese woman has ever served as prime minister, or…

The Aging Dilemma for Asian Populations

The Aging Dilemma for Asian PopulationsJapan, the first country into extensive experience with an aging population as fertility rates decline and life expectancy increases, is far ahead of other Asian countries including Singapore, Thailand, China, India and Taiwan in taking care of its elderly. Over the past several decades, most Asian countries have undergone astonishing shrinkage of total fertility rates,…
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