Japan

This photo taken on 26 June 2020 shows a performer at the opening ceremony of the 2020 Music and Food Festival of Grassland in Hohhot. (Bei He/Xinhua)

The psychology of facial aesthetics: A cultural perspective

Hayson Wang, who specialises in plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery, shares some insights into the way facial beauty is defined by science and in different cultures.
A pro-democracy activist holds his phone while queueing to pay respects to mark the one year anniversary of a man who fell to his death after hanging a protest banner against the now-withdrawn extradition bill on the scaffolding outside a shopping mall, in Hong Kong on 15 June 2020. (Anthony Wallace/AFP)

National security law for Hong Kong: The US will not back down, so where are we headed?

The proposed national security law for Hong Kong is speedily moving along, with the draft text recently reviewed at the 19th session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress. Nonetheless, US researcher Wei Da says that this issue is a trigger point that impinges on bottom lines that could set off serious conflict and repercussions in the Taiwan Strait. Is the onset of a hot war unfolding before our eyes?
Anti-government demonstrators scuffle with riot police during a lunch time protest as a second reading of a controversial national anthem law takes place in Hong Kong, 27 May 2020. (Tyrone Siu/REUTERS)

Japanese academic: Japan's call for 'wise action' on Hong Kong's national security law a strong statement

Japan's support of Taiwan's participation in the WHO Assembly, Chinese military operations in the East China Sea, and Japanese thoughts of delinking Japan-China supply chains have been some of the key issues in Japan-China relations during the pandemic. But the Japanese public is most concerned with the national security law in Hong Kong, according to academic Shin Kawashima. What are the implications for Japan-China relations? And will President Xi Jinping become the first state guest to visit Japan “post-corona"?
A woman wearing a face mask walks at a square of a park in Yokohama, 10 May 2020. (Philip Fong/AFP)

Why has Japan not imposed a lockdown, like China and the rest of the world?

Japan has not implemented a lockdown or harsh measures, but it has generally managed to keep its coronavirus cases and death toll low. How has it managed to do this and what does it say about its political system? Professor Zhang Yun of Niigata University examines Japan’s pandemic-management style.
Japan's strategy in Southeast Asia is moving, despite difficulties. (Aris Messinis/REUTERS)

Targeting China, Japan’s Indo-Pacific strategy in Southeast Asia runs into headwinds?

Japan has taken the lead in propagating a vision of regional order for more than a decade. Its geopolitical strategy seeks to constrain China at a time when Southeast Asian countries fret about China’s military buildup, its expansion in the South China Sea and its controversial Belt and Road Initiative. ISEAS academic William Choong explains why Japan's endeavours have not been smooth, yet should not be discounted yet. 
People walk past closed stores on the Nakamise shopping street leading to the Sensoji temple in the Asakusa district of Tokyo, Japan, on 25 April 2020. (Soichiro Koriyama/Bloomberg)

Warming up of China-Japan ties hijacked by the pandemic

A severely disrupted supply chain, an inevitable blame game, a collision in the East China Sea... Dr Amrita Jash says that like many things this year, the warming up of China-Japan ties has been hijacked by the spread of Covid-19 and its aftermath.
People in Tokyo's Gotanda area, April 7, 2020. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency in parts of the country, including Tokyo, over a spike in coronavirus infections. (Charly Triballeau/AFP)

Covid-19: East Asia must play a greater role

East Asian countries are showing early signs of getting the pandemic under control and must channel their relative stability towards spearheading the economic recovery of the region if they wish to play a larger role in shaping the international order post-Covid 19.
A secury guard (center) stands at a closed cherry blossom viewing spot in Tokyo's Ueno park on 28 March 2020. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP)

Japanese academic: Battling Covid-19 is not a global match of going for gold

Shin Kawashima says that China needs to tread carefully in the ways that it is publicising its efforts in helping other nations battle the Covid-19 pandemic. Excessive propaganda tends to backfire and create huge perception gaps between China and the rest of the world, which will not be a good thing if it hopes to increase its soft power in the days and months ahead.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzō Abe (C) speaks during a meeting at the new COVID-19 coronavirus infectious disease control headquarters at the prime minister's office in Tokyo on February 27, 2020. ( Jiji Press/AFP)

Widening perception gap between Japan and China since Covid-19 outbreak

Japanese academic Shin Kawashima says despite the appearance of warmer China-Japan relations after the Covid-19 outbreak, judging from Japanese sentiments at least, the picture is not that rosy. While there does not appear to have been any public opinion survey, the frustration from Japanese people is discernible.