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So strong is public opposition to his miltarist policies that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, having ignored the popular will, faces questions about democratic representation. AAP Image/Newzulu/Munesuke Yamamoto

Kicking pacifism: Japan’s pivot to militarism defies popular will

Shinzo Abe’s government (now in its second term) has consistently been vocal about Japan's national defence.
Tens of thousands protest in Malaysia, including members of the country’s indigenous Orang Asli community. Edgar Su/REUTERS

Malaysians worldwide demand prime minister’s resignation

Two million Malaysian immigrants live in countries around the world. That's not stopping them from being involved with politics back home.
Members of the National Reform Council pose for photographs after voting to reject a draft constitution – a decision that will put elections on hold until 2017. EPA/Narong Sangnak

By accident or design, Thai junta extends its rule

The rejection of the draft constitution is not necessarily a setback for Thailand's military junta. It may even have been a ploy to extend its rule well past the promised date for elections.
EPA/Wang Qingqin

China: taking history seriously

Many people outside China find it hard to understand its obsession with history. Appropriately enough, however, a little historical context can help to explain this. China has had more recorded history…
In preparation for China’s commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war, a couple in Luoyang, Henan province, re-enacts the famous photograph taken in New York’s Times Square on V-J Day. Reuters

On our side: remembering the national and international in China’s war

It would be wrong to see China's role in the second world war as a story of the powerful West coming to the rescue of a hapless Chinese nation.
Despite the show of people power in Malaysia’s streets, the greatest threat to Prime Minister Najib Razak’s leadership is probably from within his own party. Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha

People power challenges Malaysia’s PM, but change from within most likely

The demonstrations against Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak are a potent manifestation of the scale of disillusionment with the government.
Reuters/Jason Lee

China’s receding regional ambitions?

Few would disagree with the idea that China is a rising power with great international ambitions. For many policymakers, commentators and citizens in China, restoring its greatness and accustomed centrality…
Rumours are swirling around Bangkok about who’s behind the bombings, which make it even more unlikely democracy will be restored any time soon. EPA/Diego Azubel

Divided Thai nation vulnerable to violence on multiple fronts

Thailand has enough of its own political enemies, both internally and externally, that will likely be considered as the investigation into a pair of bombings continues.
EPA/Kimimasa Mayama

Japan’s sorry saga

What is it about northeast Asia? Why is it that a part of the world that is a byword for unparalleled economic development and astounding social transformation can’t come to terms with its past and develop…
Japan’s neighbours will interpret whatever Shinzo Abe says about his nation’s wartime aggression in the light of his government’s shift to more hawkish policies. Reuters/Toru Hana

The living ghosts of 1945 haunt Asia’s rival powers

In the West, it is often forgotten that 1945 marks the end of not only the second world war but also of a much longer period of political and social upheaval in Asia.
EPA/How Hwee Young

The irresponsible stakeholder?

Whatever China’s policymakers do these days matters a lot, and not just to the denizens of the People’s Republic. On the contrary, for better or worse what happens in China has a powerful and often immediate…
EPA/Wu Hong

China: (not) too soon to panic?

Three big lessons came out of the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. First, the Asian economies to our north could be a source of economic threat as well as opportunity. Second, economic crises…
AAP/Ed Jones

Australia’s twin track diplomacy

It has become commonplace to observe that Australian policymakers face a major challenge trying to reconcile the strategic and economic aspects of foreign policy. But while we might have become used to…
Smart engagement with Asia means recognising the many ways in which Asian migrants to Australia are opening new pathways for discovery, innovation and cultural understanding. EPA/Ole Spata

Immigrant ambassadors open doors for Australia across Asia

Skilled migrants from India, China and other neighbouring countries are building pathways for innovation, growth and better understanding between Australia and their homelands.

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