All you need to know about Asia
Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.
Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.
The Japanese Emperor Akihito is due to abdicate later this year. Three months remain in the Heisei era. Unlike the previous era change brought about by the death of Emperor Showa, the upcoming transition is characterized by a festive mood. Retailers are engaging in a marketing war as they entice consumers with “Last Heisei” sales, while bridal companies are preparing for a wave of “last-ditch marriages” in which couples wed before the end of the era. The Loft, a leading variety store in Shibuya, Tokyo, put up an advertisement with the message, “We’re daring to ‘bring back’ giri-choko for the last Valentine’s Day of the Heisei era.” The campaign seeks to upend the gradual decline of giri-choko, chocolates that women give to their male colleagues or friends only out of a sense of obligation.
The exhibition will run from March through next year. “Spectrosynthesis II- Exposure of Tolerance: LGBTQ in Southeast Asia”, the largest-ever survey of regional contemporary art, will explore gender issues and feature more than 200 works by 50 artists. It will open at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) on November 23 and run until March 1 next year. The exhibition received huge critical acclaim when it was first staged in Taiwan 2017, after which its Hong Kong-based organiser, the Sunpride Foundation, chose Bangkok as its second stop. “Bangkok is my second home and Thailand is the most friendly LGBT country in Asia and the more liberal nation,” said Patrick Sun, founder of Sunpride Foundation. “Taiwan is the one of th
A feature story from Korean Herald outlining the intricacies of a possible defection by Pyongyang’s ambassador in Italy. A former senior North Korean diplomat who defected to the South in 2016 on Saturday urged a former colleague who has gone into hiding before ending his term in Italy to come to Seoul, as opposed to the US where he is reportedly seeking asylum. Thae Yong-ho, who was the deputy ambassador in London and the most recent senior diplomat to defect, wrote an open letter to Jo Song-gil, 44, until recently North Korea’s acting ambassador to Italy, who fled the Rome embassy with his wife in early November without notice. Jo became
It is the first manmade probe to land on the far side. Humankind’s lunar exploration history saw the opening of a new chapter on Thursday morning as the world’s first explorer of the moon’s far side landed at its destination after a 26-day space journey. The Chang’e 4 lunar probe, the latest step in China’s endeavor to explore the silver sphere, landed at 10:26 on the Von Karman crater in the South Pole-Aitken basin and then sent back a picture of the landing site shot by one of the monitor cameras on the probe’s lander, marking the world’s first image taken on the moon’s far side. The picture, published by the China National Space Administration, shows the place where Chang’e 4’s rover will be heading to roam and survey. The successful landing formally inaugurated the world’s first expedition to the far side that never faces the E
The emperor made his last speech before his pending abdication. Japan’s Emperor Akihito, who turned 85 yesterday, has said he was heartened that the Heisei (achieving peace) era was coming to an end without his country having engaged in war. “It gives me deep comfort that the Heisei era is coming to an end, free of war in Japan,” the pacifist monarch said in an emotional news conference held at the Imperial Palace ahead of his birthday. Of the war that Japan waged in his father’s name, he added: “It is important not to forget that countless lives were lost in World War II and that the peace and prosperity of post-war Japan was built upon the numerous sacrifices and tireless efforts made by the Japanese people.” He stressed that it was crucial to “pass on this history accurately to those born after the war”, in what was his last birthday news confere
US backing for anti-Soviet fighters in Afghanistan may have enabled the Pakistan bomb. Torn between preventing Pakistan from going nuclear and fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, the United States appears to have decided that pushing the Russians out of Kabul was more important, shows a set of documents released by the US State Department. Official US memos and letter — released under an arrangement to make public official documents after 30 years — show that Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (in office from 1978 to 1989) also played a key role in convincing Washington to continue to support Islamabad despite its nuclear programme. Timeline: History of US-Pakistan relations A confidential State Department report, dated Aug 20, 1984, shows that by 1984 Washington knew Islamabad had acquired the