Policy & Politics

A Kotra employee loads a filter from a South Korean company into his car before heading to prospective Japanese buyers.

State help

South Korean group helps smaller businesses sell abroad

TOKYO/SEOUL -- Small and midsize South Korean businesses increasingly are relying on a state-funded trade and investment promotion organization to market their products abroad, especially as a stronger currency hurts exports. Korea Trade-Investme...

  • The Piketty factor

    Inequality debate adds to Japan's spending reform phobia

    TOKYO -- Reining in public spending was always going to be a difficult proposition for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government. Now, some officials worry that a renewed focus on the distribution of wealth, courtesy of a French economist's best-selling...

  • Japan's lower house OKs extra budget for FY 2014

    TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's House of Representatives approved Friday a 3.12 trillion yen extra budget for fiscal 2014 to fund an economic stimulus package designed to invigorate domestic demand exacerbated by the April 1 consumption tax hike and the yen...

  • Cambodian politics

    Hun Sen maneuvers for power as younger voters rise

    PHNOM PENH -- In various spots around this dynamic capital, one can see posters depicting Cambodia's three key leaders -- Prime Minister Hun Sen in the center, with Senate president Chea Sim on his left and National Assembly president Heng Samrin on ...

  • Automated translation

    Japanese consortium eyes 10-language app in time for Olympics

    TOKYO -- Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, working with Panasonic and telecom giant NTT, is setting out to create a mobile device app that can automatically translate Japanese and nine other languages with high precision. T...

  • Democratizing Myanmar

    US, Japan to help strengthen labor laws

    TOKYO -- As part of efforts to aid Myanmar's democratization, the U.S. and Japan will work together to help update the country's archaic labor laws and better safeguard workers' rights. Myanmar currently has about 20 laws covering minimum wages, ...

  • Nowhere in Naypyitaw

    Ghost-town capital reflects Myanmar's political history, reality

    YANGON -- Myanmar is developing at a rapid clip, but its capital, Naypyitaw, may be one of the quietest and most forlorn in the world. Despite its state-of-the-art airport, built with financial assistance from China, there are few cars on the streets...

  • Philippine tourism

    Industry hobbled by poor services, weak infrastructure

    MANILA -- Despite its abundance of world-class scenic resources, the Philippines is struggling to attract more foreign tourists. Poor airline service and underdeveloped infrastructure are seen as the biggest culprits and are testing the government's ...

  • Foxconn telecom merger

    Plans to enter mobile communications tentatively blocked

    TAIPEI -- Taiwan's National Communications Commission tentatively rejected the merger application for a Foxconn Technology Group unit with major mobile carrier Asia Pacific Telecom, asking the companies to resubmit their proposal. "We are rejecti...

  • Hostage crisis

    Jordan ready to release terrorist for captured pilot

    AMMAN -- The Jordanian government is prepared to exchange condemned prisoner Sajida al-Rishawi for the military pilot believed to be taken hostage by Islamic State militants, according to Wednesday reports by state-owned media. The public here ha...

  • Need for international support

    Dysfunctional states breeding extremism in Middle East, Africa

    CAIRO -- The political vacuum left by toppled dictatorships in the Middle East and Africa has created a breeding ground for religious extremism, and restoring the rule of law in affected areas has now become a necessary step in the global fight again...

  • Myanmar's civil war

    End to conflict remains elusive as peace talks falter

    YANGON -- Hard bargaining is under way in Myanmar to end a civil war that has lasted more than 50 years, but a peaceful resolution remains out of reach. In 2011 the government began holding peace talks with the armed forces of various ethnic mino...

  • Japanese hostage crisis

    PM Abe calls for Jordan's close cooperation as deadline looms

    TOKYO -- Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says his government is fully utilizing every possible diplomatic channel to secure the release of a Japanese hostage held by Islamic State militants, as the 24-hour deadline to spare the man's life fast appr...

  • Singapore monetary policy

    Surprise adjustment drives down city-state's currency

    SINGAPORE -- The Monetary Authority of Singapore surprised the market Wednesday morning with the announcement that it will slightly ease its monetary policy. The central bank plans to slow the appreciation of the Singapore dollar against a basket of ...

  • Relaxing regulations

    Corporate farms among new ideas for Japanese economic zones

    TOKYO -- Letting corporations take controlling interests in farms and easing restrictions on foreign doctors are among 13 new measures proposed Tuesday by a task force on the country's planned deregulation zones. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hopes t...

  • Rekindling debt concerns

    New Greek government will likely demand easing of austerity measures

    ATHENS -- Greece's new anti-austerity government is expected to begin renegotiating the terms of the country's bailout with the European Union soon, but Germany and other member nations are hesitant to support the country unless it follows through wi...

  • Greece's anti-austerity coalition

    Syriza to team with right-wing party

    ATHENS -- Greece's leftist Syriza party announced Monday that it will partner with the right-wing Independent Greeks party, launching a new government opposed to the austerity measures imposed by the European Union in exchange for the country's bailo...

  • Experts to check ex-Okinawa governor's OK to US base transfer

    NAHA (Kyodo) -- Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga said Monday a panel of experts will be set up before the end of January to examine the validity of his predecessor's approval of a landfill to relocate a U.S. military base within the prefecture. The six...

  • Japan convenes 150-day Diet session amid hostage crisis

    TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan convened a 150-day regular Diet session on Monday, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continues to grapple with a hostage crisis that will likely spur debate about Tokyo's fight against terrorism. Since the apparent killing of on...

  • Nicholas Farrelly

    Don't overlook Myanmar's urban-rural divide

    Until recently, much of what we knew -- or thought we knew -- about Myanmar was refracted through the borderlands the country shares with Thailand. The region's prolonged humanitarian crisis, with countless stories of dislocation and despair, shaped ...