The Philippines

Filipinos remain wary of constitutional change


Can Rodrigo Duterte achieve constitutional reform where three previous presidents have failed?  Having won the recent election on a platform that included giving serious consideration to federalising the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte again declared his support for this huge political transformation in his inaugural State of the Nation Address. Many Filipinos, however, remain wary of […]

Gender and sexuality, Korea

Misogyny on the rise in South Korea’s ‘gender war’


A shocking murder puts renewed focus on gender politics in South Korea On 17 May this year a 23-year-old woman was stabbed to death by a 34-year-old man at a unisex toilet near the Gangnam subway station in Seoul. What shocked the public most was that the victim was a total stranger to the assailant. […]

China, Gender and sexuality

Television dating shows—China’s new matchmakers


Love and marriage in today’s China are increasingly being conducted in the spotlight If not bread and butter, television dating shows have become an important ingredient of the Chinese diet. For singles, they are a platform for seeking potential spouses. For the mass audience, they are a topic for gossip. For the cultural elites, they […]

Gender and sexuality, Japan

Japan’s food education campaign takes on a nationalistic flavour


Mothers under pressure as Japan pushes return to a traditional diet The Japanese government’s shokuiku (food education) campaign entered a new phase recently that again places rice-based dishes at the forefront of the national diet. Shokuiku started in 2005 in response to concerns over rising lifestyle-related diseases, food safety and national food sufficiency, and for […]


New thinking redefines Japan’s foreign aid policy


Japan’s latest aid charter has introduced new and controversial measures Foreign aid is a key instrument of international engagement in Japan’s foreign policy toolkit. Although Tokyo is no longer the world’s top aid donor that it once was in the 1990s, it still is one of the leading ODA (official development assistance) donors within the […]


Time to position Australia as a digital player in a world online


Australia has yet to grasp the significance of digital technology in expanding its relations with Asia Australia exists in a world well and truly on its way to digital saturation. While we are likely decades away from the terrifying concept of ‘peak digital’, a complete renovation of how the public, organisations, governments and countries engage […]