Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his intention to amend Article 9 (the ‘peace clause’) of Japan’s constitution on 3 May 2017 — exactly 70 years after the constitution first came into effect in 1947. Abe’s proposal involves adding a third clause to Article 9 that would legalise Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) while maintaining the original two clauses that renounce war as a sovereign right and prohibit Japan’s possession of a military force.
The case against Abe’s constitutional amendment
Author: Hiroaki Watanabe, University of Sheffield
South Korean President Moon Jae-in is shaking up the country’s Constitution. His recent constitutional amendment bill proposes a presidential system that caps a presidency at two consecutive four-year terms while limiting presidential powers and strengthening the rights of the prime minister and the National Assembly.
Will Moon shine a light on Korean corruption?
Author: Hyung-A Kim, ANU
Something paradoxical has happened in Chinese thinking about North Korea. US President Donald Trump’s impulsive decision to accept North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s invitation to a summit has stunned China, as it has many other countries. But other than South Korea, China should be the country most elated about such a summit.
Is China changing its strategy towards North Korea?
Author: Feng Zhang, ANU and NISCS
The recent move to abolish presidential term limits in China was met by surprised consternation. Former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping established term limits in 1982 to prevent the country from sliding back into the chaos that plagued China under its prior leader, Mao Zedong. Rules like this have helped maintain political stability since.
The CCP is eating the state
Jessica C Teets, Middlebury College
On 5 March 2018, the Sri Lankan government mandated a state of emergency for ten days following riots and a wave of targeted violence against Muslims in the city of Kandy. The latest episode took place after a Sinhalese Buddhist truck driver engaged in an altercation with some Muslim youths and succumbed to his injuries. The altercation is not believed to have been racially or religiously motivated.
New violence against Muslims in Sri Lanka has old roots
Pravin Prakash, RSIS
Bound by common resentment towards the overwhelming power of the West, China and Russia have grown increasingly close over the past decade. They enjoy compatible economies — Russia supplies hydrocarbons and other resources that fuel Chinese industry. They push back at the promotion of Western democracy and human rights, seeing them as threats to internal stability. Both seek to limit the presence of the West, particularly any Western military activity, in their immediate backyards — Eastern Europe for Russia, the South China Sea for China and Central Asia for both.
China and Russia’s uneasy partnership in Central Asia
Paul Stronski, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
On 1 February 2018, India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the central government’s budget for 2018–19. One of the highlights of the budget is the Ayushman Bharat program: an ambitious health protection scheme that aims to provide 100 million of India’s poorest households (approximately 500 million people) with up to Rs 5 lakh (US$7600) per year per household for medical costs.
Redressing India’s health care maladies
Raghbendra Jha, ANU
In January 2018, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono visited China, meeting officials including his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi to confirm the importance of reciprocal visits by their leaders. Although the bilateral relationship has moved on from its lowest points in the 2010s, no state visits have taken place since 2011.
Maintaining momentum in Japan–China relations
Madoka Fukuda, Hosei University
At the APEC Summit in November 2017, US President Donald Trump declared, ‘We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore … I am always going to put America first’.
Success ensures ASEAN’s long-term importance to the United States
Gary Clyde Hufbauer, PIIE
American trade policy is being run by an administration that does not understand basic economics and it is a threat to global welfare. US President Donald Trump and his advisors are focussed on reducing a large trade deficit by putting up trade barriers. The main cause of a country’s trade balance is the domestic savings and investment gap, not trade policy — Americans don’t save enough compared to the amount they want to spend on private consumption, investment and government.
Trump’s tariffs a call to arms for global community
Shiro Armstrong, ANU