Each fortnight on the Policy File we round-up some essential weekend policy reading from around the web. This week we look at Japan’s Upper House elections, the Chilcot report on the Iraq War, and political instability in Thailand.
Japan heads to the polls this Sunday for the country’s Upper House elections, with half the seats up for grabs. On the Asia Times, Jun Okumura unpacks the elections and says even in the unlikely event Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lost the majority, the replacement would follow similar domestic and external policies.
On The Diplomat, Trissia Wijaya looks at why failing ‘Abenomics’ policies have not reduced Abe’s popularity. On Policy Forum, Stephen R Nagy examines the domestic and regional consequences of the Upper House elections, while on the Japan Times, Ayako Mie looks at Japan’s female candidates and women’s participation in the election.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is in the spotlight following the damning findings of the Chilcot report, a seven-year independent inquiry which looked into the nation’s role in the Iraq war. On the Mirror, Dan Bloom summarizes the key points raised by the report against Tony Blair over the war. While on The Press and Journal, Derek Healey looks at how the report came about, why it has taken so long, who is involved, and what it means. The full report – all 2.6 million words of it – along with all the evidence and public statements, can be read at The Iraq Inquiry (although you may find it quicker to read the 150-page executive summary).
Last Saturday Australians cast their votes in the Federal Election, but the counting still goes on and the country awaits an outcome. On Policy Forum Pod, experts Quentin Grafton, Sue Regan, and Bob Cotton discuss policy, politics, and polls in the wake of the vote with Policy Forum Editor Martyn Pearce. Quentin has also written this piece looking at the key priorities for the incoming government. On the Wall Street Journal, Rob Taylor looks at five people who could be Australia’s political kingmakers, while on the Strait Times David Fickling takes a look back at Australia’s last hung parliament less than six years ago and says it wasn’t a bad thing, and it might not be again.
Next week, the Permanent Court of Arbitration will issue a ruling on the Philippines’ case against China’s South China Sea claims. On The Manila Times, Mauro Gia Samonte asks whether Beijing will accept a verdict favourable to the Philippines, while on the Asia Times, Richard Heydarian says the Duterte administration will have to make some hard choices.
On Forbes, Tim Daiss says China is again flexing its muscles, holding naval drills near the Paracel Islands days before the court ruling. CSIS, meanwhile, breaks down three years of events leading up to the verdict. You can also catch up on some excellent pieces on Policy Forum which have tracked the issues from Malcolm Cook, Ernest Bower, Kerry Brown, Sarah Kirchberger, Gavin Briggs and more.
Last month Thailand celebrated the 70th anniversary of the accession to the throne by King Bhumibol Adulyadej. But with the King’s health failing, Thailand’s political stability is on rocky ground. On the National Interest, Walter Lohman looks at US-Thai relations, while on New Mandala Llewellyn McCann explores what the royal succession will mean for Thai elite politics.
Want more for your weekend? You can catch up our Policy Forum podcast series via iTunes, Stitcher, and Soundcloud. If you like what you hear, please give us a review on iTunes and help us get the word out. We’ll be back next Friday with a new Policy Forum Pod looking at the concept of a ‘universal basic income’ and what that means for the future of the welfare state.