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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 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 Technology and infrastructure

A Neglected Frontier: Challenges to Japan’s Cyber Security

2020’s SolarWinds cyberattack, which affected numerous US government agencies, underscores the growing relevance of IT security and cyber-crime to national governments. Not solely the work of individual criminals, crimes perpetrated by state-sponsored or entirely state-operated hacker groups have increasingly been alleged. With cyberspace growing in importance as a frontier of political contestation, states must act; what steps has Japan been taking, and what barriers are there to enhancing Japan’s cybersecurity?

Asia Pacific Politics

Japan – Taking Initiative in the Asia-Pacific Region

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga embarked on his first diplomatic visits last month, meeting the Vietnamese and Indonesian governments. Suga’s choice of Vietnam and Indonesia, both important members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), demonstrates his aim to continue the policy formulated under his predecessor Shinzo Abe for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP). Alongside this, there are indications that Japan will step up the involvement of its defence industry both for the country’s own security and that of the wider Asia-Pacific region. With an ineffective US Asia policy and a gutted US State Department, the moment is right for Japan to take the initiative towards peace and prosperity in the region.

Asia Pacific Economics

‘Suganomics’: What can we expect?

Japan’s new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who took up office on 16th September, faces the challenge of revitalizing an economy still reeling from the effects of COVID-19. There are indications that Suga will continue many elements of his predecessor Shinzo Abe’s ‘Abenomics’ policy. Nevertheless, his economic policies are likely to diverge from Abe’s in a few key areas, owing to the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic and Suga’s tenure as Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications.

China Security

Chinese ambitions in the East China Sea

A few weeks ago, the Twitter account of the Chinese state-run newspaper ‘People’s Daily’ published a video showing Chinese students creating the shape of China in a choreography. The inclusion of the so-called nine-dash line and a few islands to the northeast of Taiwan raises questions about Beijing’s maritime ambitions again.

Asia Pacific Security

Australia-Japan alliance: A blueprint for something bigger?

Is the strengthening of bonds between Japan and Australia merely an attempt to balance China, or is it a sign of a more promising future?

Asia Pacific Insights

Nuclear energy challenges in Japan

Japan has adopted a peaceful approach towards nuclear technology, limiting it to the use of supplying electricity. This is now creating challenges.

Asia Pacific Politics

A change in the East Asian balance of power? The implications of the Trump-Kim Summit

Ever since the end of the Korean War in 1953, the United States and South Korea have formed a liberal democratic alliance, in opposition to the communist North Korea. Although the two allies have encountered ups and downs throughout the decades, recent developments gave hope that a fundamental change to the nature of America’s engagements in the Korean peninsula might occur. However, President Trump’s last two summits with Kim Jong-un have made little progress, and questions concerning how to successfully engage North Korea persist.

Europe Natural resources and energy

Russia is gradually developing its Arctic LNG strategy

Due to its geographic location, natural resource extraction in the Arctic circle is strategically important for Russia’s overall energy strategy. At the same time, Russia is gradually shifting away from the traditional state-controlled gas trade through pipelines and is increasing its LNG production.