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The Economist Asia Edition

The Economist Asia Edition September 5, 2020

The Economist is the premier source for the analysis of world business and current affairs, providing authoritative insight and opinion on international news, world politics, business, finance, science and technology, as well as overviews of cultural trends and regular Special reports on industries and countries.

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The Economist Newspaper Limited - Asia Pacific
51 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
coronavirus briefs

The World Health Organisation recommended the use of cheap, everyday steroids for the treatment of severely ill covid-19 patients, after a meta-analysis of data found they reduced deaths by over a third. The United States passed 6m cases in total; the number of new cases continues to fall. France and Spain recorded their most infections in a day since March. Argentina registered its biggest jump since the start of the pandemic. India reported 2m infections in August, the highest monthly tally for any country since the outbreak of the coronavirus. It has recorded 3.9m cases in all. As in many other countries, pupils in England started returning to school for the first time since March. New York City postponed the reopening of its schools as it resolved a dispute with teachers over testing…

7 min.
the world this week

Politics Abe Shinzo announced that he was stepping down as prime minister of Japan because of ill health. Mr Abe has held the job longer than anyone else. He will be remembered for “Abenomics”, a programme of monetary easing, spending and structural reforms. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party will choose a successor on September 14th. The leading candidate is Suga Yoshihide, Mr Abe’s cabinet secretary. Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn restored Sineenat Wongvajirapakdi to her position as royal “consort”. Last year the king made her Thailand’s first officially designated consort in almost a century, but she was stripped of her privileges a few months later for trying to elevate herself as an equal to the queen, the king’s fourth wife. Tensions flared anew in a disputed border area between India and China. India accused…

5 min.
how abe shinzo changed japan

THE RECORD was beaten in late August. Then, just four days later, the record-breaker said that he was, too. After serving the longest continuous stint of any Japanese prime minister (as well as the longest time in the job overall) Abe Shinzo announced his resignation on August 28th. Mr Abe blamed the abrupt decision, over a year before the rules of his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) would have obliged him to step down, on an old digestive ailment. But many have cast his departure as an admission of defeat. The economy, which he has worked hard to revive after decades of listlessness, is swooning again because of covid-19. His campaign to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution to give the armed forces a proper legal underpinning has gone nowhere. His planned swansong, the…

5 min.
america’s ugly election

LABOR DAY marks the beginning of the home straight in a presidential election. This one threatens to be ugly. The president’s supporters are clashing with Black Lives Matter protesters in Portland, Oregon. Donald Trump flew to Kenosha, Wisconsin, for a photo-op in front of burned-out buildings, a week after police shot and paralysed an unarmed African-American man and one of the president’s supporters shot and killed two demonstrators, possibly in self-defence. Having adopted a strategy built around profiting from fears about unrest, the president has an interest in stoking it. Many Americans worry that November could herald not a smooth exercise of democracy but violent discord and a constitutional crisis. Is this all hyperbole? America has had violent, contested elections in the past. In 1968 one of the candidates, Bobby Kennedy,…

3 min.
the exception

IN THE TECH industry the rupture between China and America continues to grow. Will Uncle Sam force a sale of TikTok, a Chinese-run app popular in the West (see Business section)? Can Huawei survive the embargo? Is Apple shifting its supply chains from China? Yet in one part of the global economy the pattern is of superpower engagement, not estrangement: high finance. BlackRock, a giant asset manager, has got the nod to set up a Chinese fund business. Vanguard, a rival, is shifting its Asian headquarters to Shanghai. JPMorgan Chase may spend $1bn to buy control of its Chinese money-management venture (see Finance section). Foreign fund managers bought nearly $200bn of mainland Chinese shares and bonds in the past year. Far from short-term greed, Wall Street’s taste for China reflects…

3 min.
time for proof

THE PANDEMIC has had few silver linings. One is that a huge range of human activities have moved online far more smoothly than almost anyone expected. Businesses have let their white-collar staff work from home for half a year now. People are attending yoga classes remotely. Brits are appearing in court digitally; New Yorkers are tying the knot online. Yet as they migrate to the virtual world, many people are discovering that they do not have the right documents to prove their identity. Businesses use credit cards, in effect, as a rough-and-ready proof that people are who they say. Governments cannot do that. Rather than simply exchanging goods for money, they give money away and issue commands, so they need to know more about their “customers” than, say, a supermarket does.…