Asiatica Association

News for May 2009

AJISS-Commentary no. 68: “Indonesian Politics: Prospects for the Coming Presidential Election” by Takashi Shiraishi

by , 31 May 2009 | in papers | no comments yet

The Association of Japanese Institutes of Strategic Studies (AJISS), consisting of three leading Japanese think tanks, the Institute for International Policy Studies (IIPS), The Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA), and Research Institute for Peace and Security (RIPS), has just published the AJISS-Commentary no. 68 by Takashi Shiraishi, President of the Institute of Developing Economies - Japan External Trade Organization (IDE-JETRO), and Professor of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies

Indonesian Politics: Prospects for the Coming Presidential Election

The result of the parliamentary elections held in Indonesia on April 9 is now out officially. The Democratic Party (PD) with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as its patron has emerged as the first party with 150 seats (out of 560), followed by the Golkar Party headed by Vice President Jusuf Kalla, and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) led by former President Megawati Sukarnoputri. The four leading Islamic parties — the Islamist Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the National Mandate Party (PAN), the United Development Party (PPP), and the National Awakening Party (PKB) — did badly, with their combined votes plummeting from 44% in the previous 2004 elections to 25% this time.

AJISS-Commentary no. 67: “An Unwelcome Deja vu: A New US-North Korea Missile Deal”, by Hideya Kurata

by , 24 May 2009 | in papers | no comments yet

The Association of Japanese Institutes of Strategic Studies (AJISS), consisting of three leading Japanese think tanks, the Institute for International Policy Studies (IIPS), The Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA), and Research Institute for Peace and Security (RIPS), has just published the AJISS-Commentary no. 67 by Hideya Kurata, professor of International Security and Korean Studies at the National Defense Academy, Yokosuka, Japan.

An Unwelcome Deja vu: A New US-North Korea Missile Deal

When I look at North Korea’s foreign policy toward the United States, I often get caught up in a feeling of déjà vu. This is not without cause. In contrast to the US, whose North Korean policy shifts in accordance to a change of government or of personnel with the same government, North Korea has had almost the same people in charge of its American policy since the first nuclear crisis some ten years ago. Throughout the period, the country has aimed at securing deterrence against the US by developing nuclear weapons and missiles and seeking from the US compensation for halting the development at crucial junctures.

Database of Buddhist Temples in Taiwan

by , 6 May 2009 | in resources | no comments yet

It is my pleasure to post info on a new resource, which has ben written by Dr. Marcus Bingenheimer, Director of the Library and Information Center at Dharma Drum Buddhist College in Taiwan:

Dharma Drum Buddhist College has published a new resource. Those of you doing research on Taiwanese history and religion might be interested in our database of Buddhist temples in Taiwan.

What you find at this website is an interface that lets you query the location of temples in various ways, get historical information about them and access an image database. Since part of the data is also referenced in time it is possible to construct queries such as: show which Buddhist temples existed in Taipei in 1900. Since we mostly cater to a Chinese-reading audience so far the interface is in Chinese only.

Nepal Crisis: Prachanda Quits

by , 4 May 2009 | no comments yet

Nepal’s Maoist Prime Minister Prachanda resigned on Monday after a crisis sparked by his sacking of the country’s army chief, plunging the Himalayan republic into political turmoil. The 8- month-old Maoist-led government fired General Rookmangud Katawal on Sunday, accusing him of disobeying instructions not to hire new recruits and refusing to accept the supremacy of the civilian government (from Reuters India).

New troubles for the already troubled Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. Ram Baran Yadav, the President of the new state, has ordered the general of the Army Rookmangud Katawal to remain in office despite his dismissal by Prachanda. He said that the sacking of general, who refused to integrate the over 20,000 ex-Maoist soldiers into the national army, was unconstitutional. The rehabilitation of Maoist combatants had been one of the main political and social problems since the beginning of Prachanda government. In fact, he cannot betray his first supporters and comrades but he cannot integrate them into the national army either, according to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the ad interim government and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) signed on November 22, 2006.


Indian Elections 2009

by , 3 May 2009 | in news | no comments yet

The Indian elections 2009 are reaching a crescendo with the growth of the BJP. The 15th Lok Sabha, which is is composed of representatives of the people chosen by direct election on the basis of the adult suffrage, is elected in five phases on April 16, April 22-April 23, April 30, May 7 and May 13.

According to the DNA (Daily News & Analysis) "the Congress and the BJP are locked in a fierce fight for emerging as the single largest party at the end of three rounds of polling. [...] There are two reasons for the BJP's surge. One, the party seems to have retained ground in its core areas like Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Two, it is expected to register gains in Jharkhand, Bihar and Assam. However, the surge is likely to halt in the next two phases when its loss areas, Rajasthan and Punjab, will poll".

The results of the election will be announced on May 16, 2009.


The mystery of the Indus Valley Civilization

by , 2 May 2009 | in articles | no comments yet

While the attention is focused on the the Indian election, a few authoritative online magazines have written on the Indus Valley Civilization (of which the main city were Mohenjo Daro and Harappa), which has not been fully deciphered yet. The main issues are: was the civilization written, and therefore had a literate culture? Are the signs on seals symbols only, or characters of a script? Is there any link between Harappan and Vedic cultures?

I want to point out two articles because the first one is published on Wired, the famous tech magazine, and the second is a sort of summary of the whole debate and is published on Asia Times. We cannot but agree with Raja Murthy, the author of the last article, who writes:

If the Indus Valley has an equivalent to the sensational 18th-century discovery of the Rosetta Stone, considered one of the greatest-ever historical finds, that would indeed confirm whether the Indus symbols are a written language - one possibly opening the doorway to an unknown civilization. [...]