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Asia Pacific Politics

Japanese Politics Heats Up: the Contest for the Next LDP Leader

Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the country’s dominant political party, is set for a leadership election on 29th September. The outcome of the election will be significant as the winner will become Japan’s new Prime Minister and head the party in Japan’s general election, scheduled for late November this year. Competition is likely to be fierce for the LDP’s top spot. Presuming that the LDP wins this year’s general election, the victor of the leadership election will have the opportunity to shape Japan’s national trajectory.

Asia Pacific Risk Pulse

Myanmar: Southeast Asia’s Next Frontline of Jihadism?

In November 2020, Myanmar’s first explicitly Salafi-Jihadist militant group, Katibah al-Mahdi fi Bilad al-Arakan, declared jihad against Naypyidaw to avenge the persecution of Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar’s military junta. Now, Southeast Asia’s poorest nation grapples with a multidimensional humanitarian catastrophe in the aftermath of the 1 February coup d’état. Myanmar’s spiralling violence and the presence of over a million Rohingya refugees in squalid conditions in neighbouring Bangladesh has created a fertile ground for radicalisation, raising the prospect of a new jihadist front at the crossroads of South and Southeast Asia.

Asia Pacific Technology and infrastructure

Southeast Asia’s wave of internet regulation comes to Indonesia

Indonesia’s new internet regulation requires platforms to remove ‘prohibited’ content—defined as anything violating Indonesian law, disturbing public order, or inciting unrest—within twenty-four hours. The government insists the law is needed to combat disinformation and avoid the destabilizing effects of ‘fake news’. But critics worry it may be a ploy to silence online dissent. The law aligns Indonesia with Southeast Asia’s trend of increased internet regulation. How online platforms react will determine regional internet developments.

Asia Pacific Covid-19

Vaccine Rollout Could Improve the Economic Outlook in the South Pacific, While an Outside Power-struggle Lingers

Pacific Island Countries (PICs) are on the road to economic recovery as vaccine programs begin, potentially reviving tourism and trade in the region. However, the region’s economy remains the subject of external influence.

Asia Pacific Security

Japan: Is A Boost to National Defence On The Way?

In late May, a panel on national security and defence held by Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) issued a draft proposal calling for a significant increase in Japan’s defence budget, among other defence related recommendations. This proposal, alongside recent comments made by Japan’s Minister of Defence, suggests a shift towards higher levels of spending and a more proactive defence policy.

Asia Pacific Economics

Japan’s cryptocurrency market: Set to bloom or wither?

The popularisation of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology continues to grow worldwide. In Japan, engagement with cryptocurrency has blossomed among investors and major firms. Though that trend is likely to continue over the longer term, it may be tempered by regulation and an aging population.

Asia Pacific Insights

The Difficult Case of Taiwan’s Sovereignty

In the wake of rising tensions in the South China Sea, between China and its neighbours, the issue of Taiwan’s sovereignty is once again in the spotlight as Beijing clamps down in an attempt to secure its maritime borders and territorial claims in the region. Do recent developments suggest an end to the ambiguous status quo?

Asia Pacific Security

The Maldives – An Unlikely ISIS Haven

The Maldives, a small republic of 1,200 islands in the Indian Ocean, is traditionally a peaceful place, with most locals taking their security and stability for granted. However, today the Maldives has the highest per capita number globally of foreign fighters who have travelled to take up arms and fight in Syria. The government must reinforce its efforts to tackle the root causes of radicalisation, as well as the exacerbating factors in play on the islands. 

Asia Pacific Economics

Japan’s Tech Competitiveness: Why the Decline?

The Japanese government’s plans to increase economic efficiency and productivity through digitalisation reflect Japan’s growing need to develop new and innovative technologies in software and big data. However, Japanese firms’ incremental and often secretive R&D approach and risk-averse attitude to investments in startups undermine these efforts.

Asia Pacific Politics

Japan: Will Suga Remain Prime Minister After September?

After Abe Shinzo stepped down as Japan’s Prime Minister in late August last year, then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide emerged as the man to succeed him, through the support of high ranking Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) figures including Abe himself and the party’s secretary-general Nikai Toshihiro. Though Suga began his premiership with reasonable approval ratings, public support has since plummeted. With an LDP leadership contest scheduled for September 2021, the possibility exists that Suga will not be in the top seat by that point this year. How likely is such an outcome, and what factors are likely to contribute?