The DailyBrief

Tuesday June 27, 2017

Wither Japan’s democracy? Hiroji Yamashiro, a long-standing campaigner against the US military presence in Okinawa, has become a symbol of modern Japan’s uneasy attitude towards dissent. Daniel Hurst writes that Japan’s postwar constitution guarantees freedoms of thought, association and expression but Yamashiro, who was detained for five months last year after a protest, is seeking to shine a spotlight on a new anti-conspiracy law that critics say is part of a gradual erosion of these rights.

China’s IPO frenzy: China has more than tripled its IPO volume this year, with a total of 246 companies going public so far in 2017, reports Lin Wanxia. Industrial businesses lead the charge, as the government works to transform and upgrade the country’s manufacturing industry, with technology, media, telecommunications, retail and consumer sectors also featuring strongly.

Pyongyang down deep: As Washington, Seoul and Tokyo fret about North Korea’s repeated firing of ballistic missiles into the skies of Northeast Asia, another part of Pyongyang’s arsenal has gone largely unnoticed because it’s under the ocean. Peter J. Brown writes that North Korea has one of the largest – and indeed nosiest – submarine fleets in the world and analysts are asking if China’s expanding footprint in the region means this fleet will become more protected or exposed.

Silk Road tea? China has the world’s largest tea industry and the government wants producers to seize the opportunity window provided by the One Belt One Road initiative to bolster stagnating export volumes. Zi Yang reports that this may prove quite a challenge as China’s tea industry is oriented towards domestic consumption, with only 14% of its output exported, and producers currently have little incentive to head abroad.

China-Employment is key: In his speech at the opening of the World Economic Forum’s summer meeting in Dalian, Premier Li Keqiang said employment is key to China sustaining inclusive economic growth, writes Zheng Xin. Li said under the so-called “fourth industrial revolution”, structural adjustments in the economy together with increased innovation will boost job opportunities for those who lose work to robotics and automation.