East Asia Forum

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East Asia Forum
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Analysis of economics, politics and public policy in East Asia and the Pacific.

Will this be the Year of Japan's Democratic Party (DP)?

Date: 29 June 2016

The 2016 triennial House of Councillors or upper house election is set to test Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policy and popularity. Although the House of Councillors is less powerful than the House of Representatives, past prime ministers have been forced to resign after poor electoral results in the upper house. Prime Minister Abe does not face that prospect. His party is likely to suffer losses, though not big enough to lose majority.

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Japan's Abe Reaches for More Arrows

Date: 29 June 2016

Prime Minister Abe is attempting to revitalise the Japanese economy after two decades of stagnant growth. In December 2012, he launched the reform program that became known as Abenomics, consisting of monetary policy aimed at reflating the economy, flexible fiscal policy with medium-term fiscal consolidation and structural reform.

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Asia could be the World's Brexit Shock Absorber

Date: 27 June 2016

The shock of Britain’s vote to exit the European Union (EU) will reverberate around the world for decades to come. In addition, Asia isn’t immune. The direct effect on stock markets and exchange rates around the region is a modest harbinger, but that’s only the beginning.

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How is India's Rajan Leaving a Good Thing?

Date: 27 June 2016

The surprise announcement last week that Raghuram Rajan, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, was stepping down sent shockwaves around the world. Rajan, a brilliant academic who came from the University of Chicago to take up the appointment under the Singh government, was credited with stabilising the economy and turning inflation around. He is an outspoken champion of both economic and social reform. When push came to shove, he chose to go.

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Keeping Asian Growth out of the Doldrums

Date: 27 June 2016

The global economic outlook may be grim but it would be grimmer still but for Asian economic growth. There’s no dynamic growth pole anywhere else in the world and global uncertainties have increased around the rise of Donald Trump in North America and Brexit in Europe.

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Lingering Doubts about India's Economy

Date: 27 June 2016

After two years of the Modi government, the Indian economy presents a mixed picture. Despite claims that it is the fastest growing large economy in the world, doubts linger about its actual health.

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In Japan, Inbound Tourists Have Eclipsed Outbound Tourists

Date: 27 June 2016

Japan registered a travel surplus of about US$10.6 billion in 2015, suggesting its growing competitiveness as an exporter of tourism. According to the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO), the number of inbound tourists increased by 47.1 percent to 19.7 million in 2015, outnumbering outbound tourists for the first time in 45 years. Foreign tourists also spent a record US$32.6 billion, up roughly 70 percent from 2014. So what explains Japan’s booming tourist industry?

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As Labor Rules are Written, One Group is Left Out

Date: 27 June 2016

Asia’s migrant domestic workers face exploitation and discrimination, but are largely left out of countries’ labour policies and legislation. Though estimates of the number of domestic workers vary between 52 and 67.1 million, there is consensus that a significant proportion of them, perhaps as many as 11.5 million, are migrants. About 40 percent of the world’s domestic workers are in the Asia Pacific and around 80 percent of migrant domestic workers are women.

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In Asia, Gender Quotas Were Supposed to Help Female Politicians

Date: 24 June 2016

In January 2016, Tsai Ing-wen made history after being elected as Taiwan’s first female president. Several women before her such as Park Geun-hye in South Korea, Ying-luck Shinawatra in Thailand and Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar have all risen to top political leadership in recent years. With these high-profile female politicians featured in the media, it may appear that the political glass ceiling has been shattered in East Asia.

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India's Domestic Demand is Highest in the EM Space

Date: 23 June 2016

According to current IMF projections, India is now the fastest growing major economy in the world. In 2016, it is expected to grow over a full percentage point faster than China. This is a remarkable turnaround by any standard and especially impressive against the backdrop of a stagnant global economy.

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India's Federalism Works, but there is Room for Improvment

Date: 22 June 2016

In economic terms, the federal system was created with the intention of maximising economies of scale, while still providing public services to cater to people’s divergent preferences. However, there is more to federalism than just the economics.

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Indonesia Mired in Religious and Gender Conflicts

Date: 22 June 2016

Religious identity and gender relations are integral to women’s experiences of citizenship in Indonesia. While around 88 percent of Indonesia’s population is Muslim, it is emphatically not an Islamic state, in which state law and Islamic law are coterminous. So what is the relationship of religion to citizenship rights for women in the Muslim majority?

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Philippine President-elect Duterte's Black and White in a Gray World

Date: 21 June 2016

To the Philippines’ president-elect Rodrigo Duterte, the world is black and white, with hardly any shades of grey in between. His view informs his policy approach. His law and order platform, for example, promised change in a country riddled with poor infrastructure and public services, a high crime rate and deeply rooted corruption.

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Is India Getting in its Own Way and Hampering Growth?

Date: 21 June 2016

Despite historical misadventures with socialism and recent positive experiences with liberalisation, India continues to regularly fight the market. The most recent example is the Delhi government’s move to ban Uber’s surge pricing, a regulation that can only result in a net social loss.

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Low Voter Turnout could Worry Japan's LDP

Date: 20 June 2016

On 10 July, Japan will hold its upper house elections with half of its seats to be contested. This will be the first time that 18 and 19 year-old citizens will be able to cast a vote in a national election.

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The Philippines is Out in Front with Women in Politics

Date: 20 June 2016

This is supposed to be the Asian century, with East Asian countries leading the way. The world admires many East Asian countries for their miraculous economic growth, democracy-building and cultural innovation. However, can East Asia also provide a model for developing women’s rights and political power? East Asia has no coherent pattern to boast or export.

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Nepal's Earthquake Recovery Process Bogs Down

Date: 20 June 2016

In May 2015, an earthquake of magnitude 7.2 struck Nepal. Thousands were killed and injured, and close to a million people were rendered homeless. A year on from the earthquake Nepal is still struggling to rebuild. Why has the recovery process fallen short?

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India's EOUs Flourished...So What Happened?

Date: 20 June 2016

The export-oriented unit (EOU) scheme was launched in India in 1980 to boost exports and increase production. Under the scheme, Indian companies that produce goods solely for export can register as ‘export-oriented units’. In doing so, these producers become exempt from duty payments on a range of resources used in production.

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ASEAN's Diversity Challenge

Date: 17 June 2016

As 2015 ended, members of ASEAN announced the realisation of the ASEAN Community, although it shall remain a ‘work in progress’. The ASEAN Community idea sets a roadmap for continuing the work of regional integration over the next decade.

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