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(January 21, 2022) Japan's post-Covid regional dilemma 

Among the major powers that are moving forward with an eye on the post-pandemic era, when Covid-19 will eventually become an endemic with flu-like manageability, Japan is second to none. The visit last week by its minister of economy, trade, and industry (METI), Koichi Hagiuda, made front-page news in Bangkok, following similarly notable media coverage in Jakarta and Singapore. But while it has played a critical role in Asean's economic development and regional security, Japan's Indo-Pacific geostrategic environment has become adverse with more downside risks. 

(January 7, 2022) Thai politics' murky tunnel to nowhere 

Starting out a new year should engender a sense of hope and optimism that tomorrow can be better than yesterday. But the reality in Thailand suggests otherwise. A sense of prolonged malaise and discontent pervades the scene, where politics will likely prove murky with an economy persistently in the doldrums, underpinned by continuing societal divisions and broad-based unhappiness. Unless drastic changes and reforms take place very soon, this year is likely to further solidify the onset of a decade of decay and stagnation. 

(January 25, 2022) A new chapter in Japan's Asia policy 

Japan's recently announced new economic doctrine towards Asia has two dimensions. The first has Asean at its core. The second is all about broader Asia which includes China, South Korea and India without naming them. Indeed, this time Japan wants to ascertain that its new policy approach is the outcome of its own regional assessment based on more than five decades of developmental engagement with the region. 

(January 18, 2022) Cambodia's chair: trust and tasks ahead 

Cambodia's reputation in regional and international affairs has long preceded Prime Minister Hun Sen's recent trip to Myanmar. Indeed, to be fair, the two-day visit was an ice breaker to create much-needed space for all the Asean 10 to get together once again. 

(January 11, 2022) Indo-Pacific and the ascent of SE Asia 

It is clear that the ongoing debate on the importance of the Indo-Pacific is all about which major powers will win the hearts and minds of Southeast Asian countries. The main target is the 10-member Asean bloc located in the centre, where two oceans, the Indian and Pacific, converge.