Ms Park goes to Beijing, but will Xi cooperate on North Korea?

South Korean President Park Geun-hye speaks during a luncheon meeting with members of charity groups at presidential house in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Zhiqun Zhu, Bucknell University

South Korean President Park Geun-hye will visit China from September 2–4 to attend Beijing’s official activities to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, including a military parade on 3 September. Her visit comes fresh off the heels of inter-Korean tensions triggered by a North Korean landmine which maimed two South Korean soldiers. Read more…

New measures are needed to understand gender and poverty

A woman living under the poverty line cleans rice, which she purchased from a fair-price shop in the Public Distribution System in the Indian state of Orissa. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Priya Chattier, ANU

The World Bank’s International Poverty Line (IPL) is the benchmark for tracking progress in the reduction of global poverty. But the US$2 a day guideline has drawn criticism among academics and policy circles for subsuming all those below the IPL under the ‘poverty’ category, and for its unidimensional focus on monetary poverty. A new, better measure is out there — and policymakers should use it. Read more…

Gay Asia should resist liberal assimilation

A Filipino protester from a gay and lesbian activist group mocks 'Lady Justice' in a rally calling for the resignation of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, 24 July 2014. The group condemned the social injustices caused by the Aquino regime. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sherman Tan, ANU

While it is incredibly difficult to make generalisations about LGBTIQ advocacy efforts or debates over gay rights across Asia, many commentators have expressed optimism after a number of public expressions or political initiatives in support of gay unions and rights.

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Is Abe’s womenomics working?

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe poses with his new female Cabinet Ministers (clockwise), Yuko Obuchi, minister of economy, trade and industry, Haruko Arimura, minister in charge of supporting women's empowerment, Midori Matsushima, minister of justice, Eriko Yamatani, chair of the National Public Safety Commission and minister in charge of the abduction issue, and Sanae Takaichi, minister of internal affairs and communications, in Tokyo on 3 September 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Helen Macnaughtan, University of London

In September 2013 Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to create a society in which ‘all women can shine’. Abe acknowledged that women had long been an underutilised resource in the Japanese economy. He promised to boost female labour participation rates, increase the presence of women in corporate board rooms and improve gender equality. Two years on, is womenomics working in Japan? Read more…

South Korea must confront structural problems in the economy

A delivery worker unloads boxes from a cart at a market in Seoul on 3 August 2015. Export success conceals economic weakness in South Korea, argues Seongman Moon. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Seongman Moon, KIEP

South Korea’s economic growth has slowed significantly since the 1997 Asian financial crisis. The five-year average GDP growth rate was 7.9 per cent during 1991–95, but dropped substantially to 4.5 per cent for 2001–05 and then 3.8 per cent in 2006–10. This slowdown is closely linked to that in domestic demand. After the burst of the credit card lending boom from 1999–2002, growth in domestic demand has been close to zero and has even dropped into the negative. Read more…

Will regional tensions shift the deadlock on Okinawa’s military bases?

The Okinawa prefectural assembly adopts a resolution on 19 August 2015, calling for the consolidation and scaling down of US military bases. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: H.D.P. Envall and Kerri Ng, ANU

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may be close to achieving one long-pursued goal, the relocation of the controversial Futenma airbase in Okinawa. This has been a perpetual sore in the US‒Japan alliance. But recent international trends may be reshaping Okinawa’s base politics and pushing the two allies closer to carrying out the Futenma relocation. Read more…

Don’t blame China’s skewed sex ratio on the one-child policy

A young Chinese boy takes part in a swimming event in Beijing. Conventional wisdom says that China’s skewed sex ratio is due solely to the one-child policy, but the reality is more complex. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Elizabeth J. Remick, Tufts University, and Charis Loh

In the last decade, China’s serious gender imbalance has made headlines: millions of Chinese men are doomed to bachelorhood due to a shortage of women, with awful social consequences. The conventional wisdom is that this skewing — a sex ratio at birth far higher than the natural ratio of 105 males to 100 females — is caused simply and solely by China’s one-child policy. Read more…