Jokowi’s turn to solve the Papua question

Two members of Balim Petapa, the community security guards unit formed by the Papuan Tribal Council. gradual ‘Papuanisation’ has been under way during the past 15 years. (Photo: James Morgan / Panos Pictures).

Authors: Cillian Nolan and Sidney Jones, IPAC

Indonesia’s Papua, covering its two easternmost provinces, simmers with the highest levels of deadly violence — inter-ethnic, electoral, land-related and domestic — in the country. Home to a Melanesian and largely Christian indigenous population, it became part of Indonesia in 1969 after a highly contested referendum and has since been home to a low-level armed struggle for independence. Read more…

Hong Kong needs slow electoral change, not no electoral change

Pro-democracy lawmaker Ronny Tong sits with placards of yellow crosses placed after lawmakers walk out of the legislative chamber to protest against the Beijing-backed reform proposal for the 2017 Chief Executive election. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Dylan Loh Ming Hui, RSIS

The Hong Kong government’s election reform proposal will theoretically allow for greater flexibility and competition for the 2017 race for Chief Executive. But pan-democratic lawmakers are vowing to veto the proposal, threatening the result and ultimately the 2017 ‘one person one vote’ election. Read more…

Will the 2016 congress be the moment of change in Vietnamese politics?

Fireworks explode over Da Nang, Vietnam, 28 April 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Alexander L. Vuving, APCSS

In 2016, Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party (CPV) will convene its 12th congress to select new leaders for itself and the country it rules. With new leaders will come new policies, but those who hope for the second coming of reform (doi moi lan 2) will likely be frustrated. Any changes will be insufficient to turn Vietnam into a new Asian tiger. Read more…

Japan’s agricultural reforms watered down but still significant

A newly planted rice field in Japan. The draft bill presented to the Diet on 3 April to reform the Japan agricultural cooperative (JA) organisation is a very much watered-down version of the initial recommendations for JA reform. (Photo: Flickr User, Amir Jina).

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW

In his 29 April speech to US Congress, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proudly referred to his administration’s ‘sweeping reforms to our agricultural cooperatives that have not changed in 60 long years’. Read more…

The Abe administration outmanoeuvres JA in Japan’s local elections

Akira Banzai, president of  JA-Zenchu, is surrounded by reporters at the headquarters of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in Tokyo on 9 February 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra

The Abe administration’s policy of separating the organisational interests of JA-Zenchu, the peak body of agricultural cooperatives (JA), from the interests of the prefectural central unions (chūōkai) and local cooperatives and farmers generally paid off in April’s local government elections. Read more…

Carrot and stick tactics fail to calm China’s ethnic antagonism

a billboard at a market in kuqu, Xinjiang Province, encourages good relations between Uyghurs and Han, who make up an increasing part of the population. (Photo: AAP).

Author: James Leibold, La Trobe University

For centuries the Chinese state has governed its distant ethnic frontiers with both carrot and stick. In the past, emperors proffered ‘imperial grace’ (ēn) for those ‘barbarians’ willing to submit (at least nominally) to Chinese dominion, while reserving the right of ‘imperial might’ (wēi) for those who resisted. Read more…

Mr Abe in Washington

Secretary of State John Kerry stands next to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Abe's wife Akie Abe for a photograph in front of Kerry's residence in Boston, 26 April 2015. Abe has arrived in the US for a week-long visit. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s week-long visit to the United States this week and his speech on Wednesday to a joint session of the US Congress represent an unusual opportunity for Japan’s diplomacy. Abe is the first Japanese prime minister to address a joint meeting of Congress. Read more…