Asian Insider: Will Japan sleepwalk into conflict | Asia’s race for rice

Dear ST reader, 

We hope you’ve been keeping well. 

In our Asian Insider newsletter this week, we look at regional security implications as Japan boosts its defence budget and draws closer to the US in the face of threats from China and North Korea. Meanwhile the abrupt resignation of New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern has sparked debate on responsible leadership and workplace burnout.


When Japan’s shield becomes a spear

Japan is upping its defences and cosying up to the US as its security environment worsens. Associate editor Ravi Velloor asks if Japan’s wholesale buy-in of America’s security and China containment doctrine could lead Tokyo to sleepwalk into a possible conflict over Taiwan.

Read more: 

Nobody wants war

Cracks in Asia's rice bowl

Lower yields and climate change are affecting Southeast Asia's rice growers. In the latest edition of ST Asian Insider, our correspondents look at efforts to produce cheaper, better quality grain and diversify from the region's staple food.

Read more: 

Hydroponic farming picks up in India

Philippines’ luxury eggs and onions

China’s race against time

China’s population has passed its peak at 1.41 billion people. By 2050, it is expected to have just one worker for every retiree, creating economic problems such as low growth, high inflation and labour shortages, writes associate editor Vikram Khanna.

Read more:

Japan's stagnant wages bite

More women leaders, please

New Zealand’s former prime minister Jacinda Ardern did not have a perfect record at governing, but her surprise resignation - citing burnout - was a responsible and commendable move, writes Insight editor Lin Suling. 

Watch: 5 key moments in Ardern's career

Read more: 

Anies sets course for Indonesia presidency

Survey favours Ganjar-Ridwan pair

Luxury cruise threatens India’s river dolphins

A new 51-day luxury cruise on the Ganga river has raised environmental concerns that it will permanently damage the habitat of India’s endangered river dolphins, reports Rohini Mohan.

It’s food, not drugs

It’s common for South Korean eateries to use the word "mayak", which means drugs, to tout the addictive qualities of their food. But the practice is not as harmless as it seems, reports Chang May Choon in the latest dispatch of Letter from the Bureau.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.