Welcome to Your Week in Asia.
There are only a few days to go before the Olympics return to TV screens, but excitement is hard to come by. Host city Tokyo will reenter a state of emergency that will keep beer taps dry and stadium seats empty. International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach will field questions on how athletes and residents will be kept safe. Elsewhere, British parliamentarians will debate a call for officials to boycott next year's Winter Games in Beijing.
The waters off Australia will be busy. South Korean sailors will join drills there with the U.S. Navy and others while a U.N. committee under Chinese leadership will review Canberra's stewardship of the Great Barrier Reef.
Keep up with our reporting by following us on Twitter @NikkeiAsia.
Tokyo goes back under emergency rules
Will the fourth time be the charm for Tokyo? The Japanese capital has again been placed under a state of emergency after the city's new daily COVID-19 infections inched close to 1,000. All restaurants and bars are asked to suspend alcohol sales, with restaurants compelled to close by 8 p.m.
The Olympics open on July 23 but without spectators for events in the capital and adjoining areas due to the emergency declaration.
Go deeper: Tokyo 2020 sponsors are running out of opportunities to recoup their investments.
Hyflux flushed away?
A Singaporean court is due to rule on whether to liquidate troubled water treatment company Hyflux after restructuring negotiations with potential investors collapsed. The company, once lauded for technologies seen as invaluable for resource-poor Singapore, filed for court protection in 2018 with 2.8 billion Singapore dollars ($2.07 billion) in debt after a failed foray into power generation.
Neighbors consider fate of Afghanistan
Foreign ministers from China, Russia and other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will discuss the situation in Afghanistan as the U.S. military withdraws and Taliban insurgents advance. The eight-member group includes neighboring Central Asian states, as well as India and Pakistan, all of which share a keen interest in the fate of Afghanistan, itself an SCO observer.
Hong Kong turns new page
The annual Hong Kong Book Fair has long been popular with the public, but increasing censorship since the imposition of Beijing's national security law over the city a year ago has made publishers and distributors jittery. In the past, many books banned from sale in mainland China were offered here, but some exhibitors have dropped out and others are expected to be selective about which works they display.
South Korea joins forces with the US and Australia
Australia's largest bilateral military training activity with the U.S., known as Exercise Talisman Sabre, kicks off, with South Korea joining for the first time. Around 1,800 foreign military personnel will be involved, with Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the U.K. also taking part to improve coordination and combat readiness. France, India and Indonesia will observe. The forces will practice amphibious landings, ground maneuvers, urban operations, air combat and maritime operations.
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Indian meal delivery company Zomato, backed by Uber and Ant Group, begins taking orders from investors wanting to join its initial public offering. The company has upsized its IPO target by 14% to 93.75 billion rupees ($1.26 billion) since its initial filing in April due to positive investor feedback. The shares are expected to start trading on July 27.
Indian IT groups stick with the program
Revenues for India's IT companies appear to have held up well during the April-June quarter despite the country's devastating second COVID wave, with analysts forecasting that the major players had quarter-on-quarter gains of 2% to 4%. Infosys will show its hand first on Wednesday, followed by Wipro on Thursday.
Post pop China
While China's economy expanded a record 18.3% from a year before in the first quarter, economists surveyed by Nikkei expect output growth to return to earth for the April-June period as the country's early emergence from lockdown during 2020 raises the basis for comparison. Respondents on average forecast 7.7% year-on-year growth. Beijing will also report monthly data on retail spending, industrial production and fixed-asset investment, following trade figures earlier in the week.
Didi seeks a lift
Chinese ride-hailing operator Didi Global has gotten a rough ride from Beijing regulators since listing in New York on June 30, with a series of edicts knocking its share price well below the IPO level. However, it could get some lift as MSCI adds the company to its main global and China stock indexes, just after Didi also moves into the gauges of FTSE Russell and S&P Dow Jones.
UK takes aim at Beijing Olympics
A week after the European Parliament approved a resolution urging officials from EU states to boycott next year's Winter Games in Beijing, its U.K. counterpart will take up a matching measure as a response to alleged atrocities in Xinjiang and related Chinese countersanctions. Even if approved, the "diplomatic boycott" call will not be binding on British officials.
South Korean central bank hangs loose
Observers will be watching for Bank of Korea Gov. Lee Ju-yeol to signal his future intentions, as few expect the central bank to change its benchmark interest rate at this month's meeting. Higher rates are seen arriving as soon as August to help cool South Korea's overheated housing market.
China's historical race with Italy
The UNESCO committee that approves sites for "World Heritage" status gathers in Fuzhou, China, for a two-week session to clear a backlogged agenda, after last year's session was canceled due to COVID. The committee, headed by Chinese Vice Minister for Education Tian Xuejun, will decide which new sites to add, as well as consider a controversial recommendation to categorize Australia's Great Barrier Reef as "in danger."
China and Italy lead the world with 55 World Heritage sites each. Both are seeking to add new ones, with Beijing nominating the medieval port of Quanzhou, not far from the meeting venue.
IOC meets in Tokyo
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach will speak to reporters in Tokyo after a two-day meeting of the IOC executive board. Bach will field questions about the holding of the Games with Tokyo citizens in lockdown, as well as how organizers will keep athletes safe and the field of play fair amid the pandemic.