Japan’s interwar period between 1925 and 1937 was marked by a gradual backsliding in the liberal democratic political system that had developed since the Meiji Constitution was adopted in 1889. Hiroyuki Yamamoto of Tokyo International University draws parallels between the heightened partisan politics of that time that gave way to anti-democratic forces and the unchecked party competition today in many countries including the US.
This month, G20 leaders will endorse guiding principles for “quality infrastructure investment”, a priority for Japan. China’s support of these principles signals a willingness to address criticism of its Belt and Road Initiative. China and Japan, rivals in delivering high-speed rail, appear open to collaborating on projects that would meet high sustainability standards, writes Motoko Aizawa, President of the Observatory for Sustainable Infrastructure, who for 12 years headed the Policy and Standards Unit in the Environmental and Social Department of the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
Disruption, diversification...decoupling?: The fracturing of global supply chains is a major concern for Asian economies
The fallout from the US-China trade battle and the collateral geo-economic disruptions are threatening global economic stability. G20 members meeting in Japan this month need to address the risk of a crisis. The US and China must call off the trade dogs of war – and quickly, writes George Magnus, Research Associate at both the China Centre of Oxford University and at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London.
India’s desire to be taken seriously as a major international player is legitimate. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s supporters are counting on him to secure the nation’s position as a global power. But his handling of domestic problems and relations with Pakistan and other neighbors raises questions about whether Modi is the man to put India irrevocably on the world map, writes Mumbai-born journalist and author Salil Tripathi.
The rise in trade tensions between the US and China may be due to the American side’s failure to appreciate the implications of China’s not being a rule-of-law country – that administrative action, not laws on the books, get things done in China, writes Zhiwu Chen, Director of the Asia Global Institute (AGI) and Victor and William Fung Professor in Economics at the University of Hong Kong (HKU).
The resounding election triumph of the ruling BJP gives Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a strong second mandate and a fresh opportunity to make his ambitious dreams for India a reality, says Hong Kong-based strategic adviser and entrepreneur Alan Rosling, the author of "Boom Country?: The New Wave of Indian Enterprise".
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's blend of hyper-nationalism with a welfare-state development narrative successfully bolstered his claim to be the “only man for the job”. It has also given his party wider and deeper appeal, solidifying its national footprint. Armed with a strengthened mandate, Modi could propel India forward to take a leadership role in Asian affairs, writes New Delhi-based Preeti Singh, Senior Advisor at 9.9 Insights.
Australia faces a range of complex geopolitical and security challenges, which include managing its close strategic and economic ties with the United States and its important trading relationship with China. The unexpected election victory of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s center-right Coalition government means that Canberra is likely to maintain its current foreign and defense policies, writes John Blaxland of Australian National University (ANU).
In a fast-paced high-growth economy – picture any big city in Asia – urban professionals are under pressure to “get back to work” even when they feel ill. The resulting demand for “fast-fix” remedies could lead to over-prescription and societal ills. Opioid abuse that is plaguing the United States and other Western countries could well become a major problem in Asia. Governments and pharmaceutical companies in the region should continue to focus on driving innovation in the development of treatments and resist the temptation to pursue the easy profits of the lifestyle-drug approach, Kathryn Ibata-Arens from DePaul University writes.
The complex nature of global supply chains means that using exploitative labor at any stage, even indirectly, may harm a company's brand and risk legal liability. Consumers do not want to be associated with trafficked workers and will shun goods produced with slave labor. Nations are passing laws to address this problem. Mandatory reporting of anti-slavery actions may provide some protection for both businesses and workers.
China’s engagement with the states of the South Pacific Ocean has accelerated in recent years. But while policymakers and academics in Australia, New Zealand and Pacific island states increasingly talk about China’s growing influence, Beijing actually operates in the region under a number of constraints and there are limits on the role it can play.
With more than 1 billion active users, Instagram has become one of the fastest growing social media brands. But as the platform grows more popular, so too its links with poor mental health become more apparent. The Asia-Pacific region, a social media growth hotspot, is already seeing increasing levels of anxiety and depression – but it is also taking measures to deal with the problem.
The extreme volatility of cryptocurrencies in 2018—which saw the most widely traded cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, plunge from US$10,166 in January to US$3690 in December—made even the most bullish traders recoil from their terminals. However, one sub-sector of the nascent asset class defied the trend: stablecoins.
Why are mobile phones and bottles of Coca-Cola available in even the most remote parts of Asia, but reliable essential services, such as drinking water, electricity, and clean cooking fuels, are not? More inclusive and effective basic service delivery models are needed to benefit the poor, and the social enterprise sector may hold the key.
Deforestation lets countries develop economically through commodity production, mining, and infrastructure-building, but makes many previously forested areas unsuitable for people and animals. The solution to this isn’t reforestation—it’s natural regeneration. Nature is our best ally and business partner.
Asia is leading the way in digital asset markets, but individual countries are taking markedly different paths toward regulation and management in establishing themselves as cryptocurrency hubs, balancing innovation and regulation. Investors should be vigilant about the risks associated with alternative capital-raising methods.