The DailyBrief

Thursday July 27, 2017

Japan’s inflation hunt: For nearly two decades, Japan has tried to generate inflation because rising consumer prices, Tokyo officialdom says, will restore the country’s pre-1990s greatness and position it to take on China. William Pesek examines this strategy by asking if the government has properly considered the most important question: What happens when Japan actually gets some inflation?

Indian’s political chaos: India’s opposition looks to be in disarray after possible prime ministerial candidate, Nitish Kumar, stepped down as chief minister of Bihar on Wednesday, dumped his scandal-tainted coalition partner and formed a new government with the support of a rival. E Jaya Kumar writes that Nitish, who took his oath as chief minister for the sixth time, now must prove he can command a majority and it is not going to be easy.

Spied become spies: For years China has complained about America’s close-in surveillance of its coastline, which has led to confrontations such as the one last week when Chinese planes intercepted a US Navy surveillance aircraft over the East China Sea. Ironically, writes Todd Crowell, at the same time Beijing was complaining about American spying, its rapidly growing fleet of intelligence-gathering spy ships have also been up and close eavesdropping on US missile tests and allied maneuvers.

Temple Mount riots: This week Palestinians protested at the Haram-al-Sharif, or the Temple Mount to Christians and Jews, about the presence of metal detectors at the entrance to the al-Aqsa mosque. David Goldman argues that the dispute is because much of the Arab world clings to the fantasy that if the Jews do not control the Temple Mount they really have not returned to Zion, and their presence in the surrounding city of Jerusalem and country of Israel must be a temporary aberration.

Beijing-Hanoi energy wars? A reported threat of force from Beijing against Hanoi’s energy exploration in the South China Sea threatens to douse recently warming relations, reports Helen Clark. China has previously intimidated all other multinational and state-run oil and gas companies to leave the disputed maritime area — save the US’s Exxon-Mobil, until recently run by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — but has never before, in recent years, explicitly threatened force over energy prospecting.

Asia Times app: The Asia Times has launched an app for both iOS- and Android-based devices that will deliver the publication’s regular daily news, commentary, blogs and live coverage while also bringing readers added functionality. Asia Times Staff report that the app, launched on July 25, includes content notification, share and save functions and is free to download from both the Apple Store and Google Play.