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The Nikkei Asian Review wins SOPA prize

Judges say William Pesek's columns show 'depth of knowledge'

Nikkei Asian Review Commentary Editor Stefan Wagstyl collected the 2018 SOPA prize for excellence in opinion writing on behalf of William Pesek in Hong Kong. (Photo by Chung Lam-chi)

HONG KONG -- The Nikkei Asian Review received the top prize for excellence in opinion writing awarded by the Society of Publishers in Asia on Wednesday in Hong Kong.

A package of three commentaries written by Tokyo-based journalist William Pesek for the Nikkei Asian Review won the trophy at the SOPA Awards for Editorial Excellence. SOPA prizes are regarded as a benchmark for world-class journalism. 

"Philippine peso flashes warning signs for Dutertenomics," published in September 2017, focused on the poor performance of the Philippine currency to bring a fresh angle to President Rodrigo Duterte's rule. The piece argued that Duterte's single-minded focus on waging a war on drugs over economic reform has resulted in a loss of investor confidence. 

"Pesek's columns show real depth of knowledge and writing flair," the judges commented. "The topics are important and the writer has a clear point of view."

Another piece, "China's central bank drama" published in October 2017, analyzed the behavior of key characters close to President Xi Jinping. In doing this, Pesek shed light on Governor Zhou Xiaochuan's impending departure from the Chinese central bank and the implications of the move.

William Pesek William Pesek

"'Dango' unchained -- Japan's recurring construction scam" focused on corruption in the industry, contrasting the apparent economic gains made by Shinzo Abe's government with the prime minister's inability to deal with the rot just below the surface. 

Pesek was unable to attend the awards and his prize was collected by Nikkei Asian Review Commentary Editor Stefan Wagstyl.

SOPA was established in 1982 to represent international and regional publishing companies in Asia and encourage best practices. The awards are administered by the Journalism and Media Studies Center under the University of Hong Kong and judged by panels of veteran journalists and scholars.

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