Should Expats Be Allowed to Vote?

When we think of democracy, we think of the right to vote. A new legal decision strips Canadians living abroad of that privilege.

A timeline of expat voting rights in Canada

Canadian Expat Voting Rights

In 1997, Canadian courts ruled that expats away for more than five years didn’t have the right to vote in domestic elections. Expats returning to Canada could have their 5-year clock restarted, even if they home for only a short period. But that practice ended in 2007. In May 2014, a court ruled in favor of expats restored their right to vote. That decision was short lived, as this week, Ontario’s Court of Appeal overturned that ruling.

Expat Reactions

How do Canadian expats feel about the news? Asia News Weekly host, Steve Miller, speaks with Jon Dunbar (South Korea), Marie Frenette (South Korea), and Kevin O’Shea (Japan) to get their reaction to the ruling.

How do you feel?

Should expats be allowed to vote on issues not only in their home country’s elections?Are there any limitations you’d put in place?

Please let me know your thoughts in comments, on Facebook, or Twitter.

Asia Now is a special feature of the Asia News Weekly podcast.

If you enjoyed the podcast, please share it with your friends and if you haven’t, subscribe. Subscribing is free and when you do, the next episode is delivered automatically to you. You can subscribe on our website, AsiaNewsWeekly.net, or in your favorite podcast application.

You’ll be able to keep up with news from the region by following Asia News Weekly on Facebook or Twitter and if you have comments, questions, or feedback, be sure to drop a line to podcast@asianewsweekly.net.

Are North Korean Sanctions Effective?

This past week, I was engaged in a brief Twitter discussion with Joshua Stanton and Lisa Orme regarding my thoughts on North Korean Sanctions. Specifically, I said I thought things needed to change.

Joshua Stanton and I went back and forth via the 140 character medium and came to realize we weren’t too far apart, but Orme asked me what I thought might work. It’s a fair question, since I do often take exception to what South Korea and the West do when it comes to the DPRK.

Before I get into what I think might work, let me explain why I think things need to change.

The Korean conflict ended in 1953 with an armistice — a ceasefire agreement, and not a peace treaty, so North and South Korea are still technically at war — a civil war as some might have it — although I would argue that after 60-plus years, there’s little in common the average citizen in either country these days.

As North Korea pursued its militaristic policies, the West imposed various sanctions. They have done some good, but some of the strongest sanctions have been put in place to halt the nation’s pursuit of nuclear and conventional weapons.

After three successful nuclear tests, a fourth one to occur when it’s politically advantageous (perhaps on August 15th to send a message to the world), and successfully placing a satellite in space, even before South Korea — The DPRK has continuously demonstrated the ability to circumvent the restrictions to achieve goals opposed by the West.

Then there’s the ridiculous bait and switch tactics employed by Pyongyang that still goats South Korea, Japan, and others. What I’m referring to is the practice of lifting or reducing sanctions when North Korea promises to change its behavior.

With the sanctions lifted, the DPRK may change the way it acts a little, but not in any sustained way. The most recent example of this can be seen with its interactions with Tokyo. In exchange for agreeing to look into Japanese abductees, Japan agreed to reduce or waive sanctions. A year later, North Korea hasn’t done anything of substance and Prime Minister Abe has once more issued a “this is your last chance” statement to the Kim regime before he’s forced to reinstate the sanctions.

From day one, I said that this is what was going to happen. It’s what North Korea does and the West just plays into it. We also see similar tactics at play at the Kaesong Industrial complex. I just don’t get why governments still fall for the same shtick.

So what are my ideas? Well in no particular order…

It’s time to formally end the war. As I previously mentioned, no one’s been earnestly fighting since 1953. One thing I believe that hampers dialog with North Korea, is that they can fall back and use “the war” as an excuse for their behavior.

To a certain extent, it’s a valid argument, as we see governments around the world use war to justify abysmal behavior. In South Korea, there’s the National Security Law — something touted as necessary and still used to silence citizens. Even in the United States we see vast powers given to government because of a war.

Take the war away from North Korea and make the dictatorial state an equal. Take away their excuse.

Something else I’ld like to see is unification off the table. President Park Geun-hye has continuously hyped unification during her administration calling it a “bonanza for business” and a fundamental path to stability on the peninsula.

Rubbish.

While I would like to see the Koreas unified one day, I just don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon, unless there’s some sort of collapse or coup. I don’t see the Kims relinquishing control or China and Russia allowing an opportunity for the US to move in closer.

North and South Korea were created as separate states following the war and it’s time to leave them that way.

Focus on a path towards diplomatic trust to build Park’s business bonanza. Build a better relationship with Pyongyang that will foster an environment where families can spend time with one another.

Of course, it won’t be instantaneous and the influx of western media, technology, and what not will pose a problem for Kim in terms of control, but if the West removes the threat of toppling his government, there might be room for improved relations.

Because that’s exactly what unification is all about – toppling Kim.

With regards to unification — North Korea wants unification with Kim as the head of the combined state, while the rest of the world wants a democratically elected head of state. Those two positions are diametrically opposed. There is no middle ground, so why waste energy pursuing it?

Prepare for it, yes… but don’t advocate for it now.

Finally, let’s talk sanctions. As I’ve previously mentioned, I don’t feel the current course of action has been effective. I believe there are two avenues that should be explored.

The West needs to find a better carrot to elicit desired behavior for North Korea. Find a motivating factor that will make Kim want to change in the desired way. Accompanying this, the practice of lifting sanctions in exchange for a promise to change needs to come to an end. Only reduce or remove sanctions after the desired behavior has occurred for a measurable amount of time.

Also, when enacting sanctions, make them count. Make the sanctions vicious and all encompassing to the point there’s no way around them. If North Korea does find a way to circumvent them, plug that hole. Use the sanction to force a change in behavior, because right now, they’re merely an inconvenience.

Those are my thoughts on dealing with North Korea. As always, I welcome your comments, so please share them with me here, on Facebook, or Twitter.

Asia Now is a special feature of the Asia News Weekly podcast.

If you enjoyed the podcast, please share it with your friends and if you haven’t, subscribe. Subscribing is free and when you do, the next episode is delivered automatically to you. You can subscribe on our website, AsiaNewsWeekly.net, or in your favorite podcast application.

You’ll be able to keep up with news from the region by following Asia News Weekly on Facebook or Twitter and if you have comments, questions, or feedback, be sure to drop a line to podcast@asianewsweekly.net.

Collective Self-Defense, Ancient Chinese Explorers, the Uighur controversy, and more

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continues to face an uphill battle on collective self-defense, a connection between ancient Chinese scripts and petroglyphs in the American Southwest, and consequences of living in a cell phone culture. Plus Martin Libicki called it with the OPM hack and more.

Shinzo Abe and Collective Self Defense

When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took to office, he made no secret his desire to shake things up. Not only did he wish to turn around the economy, but push forward with changes to the nation’s constitution that would allow the Self Defense Force a more active role in the region and elsewhere.

After reinterpreting Article 9 of the constitution last year, the Prime Minister has faced an uphill battle garnering public support for the change. This week, Abe cemented forward momentum when security bills were pushed through the lower house.

Returning to the podcast is Michael Cucek, Adjunct Fellow at the Institute for Contemporary Asian Studies at Temple University Japan to provide context and delve into the broader aspect of the measure and what’s shaping the political landscape and public forums.

Ancient Chinese and The Americas

If there’s one region of the world Asia News Weekly host Steve Miller is truly familiar with, it’s the American Southwest. He lived in Arizona for more than twenty years and explored just about every National Park and Monument (including serving as a volunteer Ranger for Tonto National Monument).

In this week’s podcast, he speaks with Dr. John Ruskamp, Jr. Ruskamp is the Senior Research Analyst for Epigraphic Research, an association dedicated to the scientific investigation of some of the world’s most enduring enigmas. For the past ten years, Ruskamp has been searching America’s southwestern deserts for pictograms, but not those from Native Americans, but rather those from ancient Chinese explorers.

Put Down that Cell Phone

The cellphone industry is a multi-billion dollar endeavor. Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi are virtually household names. In fact, it’s easy to see today there’s not one corner of the globe that has not been influenced by these tiny machines. Is that for the betterment of mankind, or are we walking down a destructive path? Today, Asia News Weekly contributor Nate Chai sits down with host Steve Miller to briefly discuss the modern device’s impact on Asia.

The Asia Brief

This week’s news run-down begins with news that Katherine Archuleta, the embattled head of the United States Office of Personnel Management has stepped down. Asia News Weekly host Steve Miller revisits this topic to replay a clip from June, where RAND Corporations’ Martin Libicki pointed out that the head needed to go and why.

The Asia Brief continues by discussing the controversy surrounding Thailand’s decision to repatriate hundreds of ethnic Uighur muslims to both Turkey and China. Plus, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down one year ago today. What’s the latest on the search and where are things going from here? These stories and several more you may have missed are discussed.

If you enjoyed the podcast, please share it with your friends and if you haven’t, subscribe. Subscribing is free and when you do, the next episode is delivered automatically to you. You can subscribe on our website, AsiaNewsWeekly.net, or in your favorite podcast application.

You’ll be able to keep up with news from the region by following Asia News Weekly on Facebook or Twitter and if you have comments, questions, or feedback, be sure to drop a line to podcast@asianewsweekly.net.

Korean Mokbang – Hunger Games Event



Note – the “real” portion of the video starts at 10 minutes.

Several years ago, an online streaming service started in South Korea named AfreecaTV. The service caught on like wildfire with the inception of mokbang (먹방) – which is essentially an eating show. South Koreans would order a ton of food, eat it on camera, and interact with folks on the Interwebs.

mokbang

The kind folks at AfreecaTV invited me down to their studio on Monday to participate in a mokbang event. Dubbed The Hunger Games, participants were tasked with completing missions while consuming bowls of buldalk bokeum myeong, or spicy noodles.

mokbang

Being a lover of spice, I had no problem with the noodles and loved every bite. With each bowl rocking 425 calories, I knew I needed to enter the event on an empty stomach. In fact, what I ate on the show amounted to my only caloric intake that day.

mokbang

The missions were pretty tame, except at the end, when I was tasked with essentially emptying in a whole bottle of mayo into the noodles. That, as Eddie Murphy would say, “be nasty.”

Like I said, I had a blast and have decided to continue to do event. Some of the things I’d like to do is take the iPad out and about and do eating shows in traditional markets and try other things. so if you’re interested in food – be sure to follow me at AfreecaTV for live events.

Najib under investigation, Seoul and Tokyo work together, and more


 

The Asia Brief begins this week with a look the trouble facing Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. Accused of receiving more than $700 million in illegal funds, several offices have been raided, accounts frozen, and some are even calling for the Prime Minister to step down. The podcast also takes a look at the newest Japanese UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the political wrangling conducted by Seoul and Tokyo to ensure a successful bid. Host Steve Miller also provides an update on the defamation charge against Japanese reporter Tatsuya Kato, how the Philippines is taking charge and handling a ferry sinking, a regional MERS update, and more.

If you enjoyed the podcast, please share it with your friends and if you haven’t, subscribe. Subscribing is free and when you do, the next episode is delivered automatically to you. You can subscribe on our website, AsiaNewsWeekly.net, or in your favorite podcast application.

You’ll be able to keep up with news from the region by following Asia News Weekly on Facebook or Twitter and if you have comments, questions, or feedback, be sure to drop a line to podcast@asianewsweekly.net.

Is Korean Unification Necessary to Ensure Peace?


Most South Koreans are in favor of unifying the peninsula, with nearly three quarters willing to pay for it. President Park says it’s needed to prevent tension, but is it? Returning to the podcast is Jonathan Miller, Fellow on East Asia with the EastWest Institute.

Jonathan Miller discusses why the topic of unification continues to crop up in discussions, if a new approach is needed with Pyongyang, and what we might see as 2015 crosses the half-way mark.

If you enjoyed the podcast, please share it with your friends and if you haven’t, subscribe. Subscribing is free and when you do, the next episode is delivered automatically to you. You can subscribe on our website, AsiaNewsWeekly.net, or in your favorite podcast application.

You’ll be able to keep up with news from the region by following Asia News Weekly on Facebook or Twitter and if you have comments, questions, or feedback, be sure to drop a line to podcast@asianewsweekly.net.

Showdown on the South China Sea, Asian Markets, and more


The Philippines prepares final arguments in its case against China, Asian markets dip on the Greek Referendum, and is unification necessary on the Korean peninsula? Plus Japan and South Korea can work together on some historical issues, allegations of political bribery in Malaysia, and more.

Showdown on the South China Sea

It’s been a long and drawn out process, but next week The Philippines will rest its case on  China’s activities in the South China Sea. Manila has been busy presenting information at the Permanent Arbitration Court. The world could learn if The Hague court will take up the matter to rule on UNCLOS as early as August. What that means for the South China Sea and more is discussed.

Greece, Markets, and Developing Asia

This past weekend Greece held its referendum on whether or not to accept new austerity measures in order to secure a bail out and avoid potentially defaulting on previous loans. By now, you know Greece voted no, sending its future, as well as that of the Euro Zone. Almost immediately after the vote, Asian markets took a dive. In fact, a regional benchmarking index saw its largest single-day drop in five months. China’s initial reaction was mixed, but saw more hemorrhaging throughout the week.

Do the Koreas Need to Unify?

A recent survey by Hankook Research, conducted on behalf of The Chosun Ilbo and the Korean Political Science Association, Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs released some very interesting data on how South Koreans feel about unification. Most are in favor and willing to pay for it. At the same time, President Park continues to stump that unification is needed to ensure stability on the peninsula, but is it?

Returning to the podcast is Jonathan Miller, Fellow on East Asia with the EastWest Institute to discuss. An extended version is available on our website

The Asia Brief

The Asia Brief begins this week with a look the trouble facing Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. Accused of receiving more than $700 million in illegal funds, several offices have been raided, accounts frozen, and some are even calling for the Prime Minister to step down. The podcast also takes a look at the newest Japanese UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the political wrangling conducted by Seoul and Tokyo to ensure a successful bid. Host Steve Miller provides an update on the defamation charge against Japanese reporter Tatsuya Kato, the fate of students arrested by the Thai junta, and what to expect from North Korea as it “searches” for Japanese abductees.

Don’t miss the extended version for more news.

Program Notes

Check out the new monthly water cooler discussion on Asia with What’s Up Asia?!

Join host Steve Miller for a South Korean meokbang eating competition on Monday, July 13th at 1300 local (0400 UTC).

If you enjoyed the podcast, please share it with your friends and if you haven’t, subscribe. Subscribing is free and when you do, the next episode is delivered automatically to you. You can subscribe on our website, AsiaNewsWeekly.net, or in your favorite podcast application.

You’ll be able to keep up with news from the region by following Asia News Weekly on Facebook or Twitter and if you have comments, questions, or feedback, be sure to drop a line to podcast@asianewsweekly.net.

July 13 AfreecaTV Meokbang Event (먹방 이벤트) 1pm



Do you love food? You know I do! Well, this Monday (July 13, 2015 1pm Korea (4am UTC), I’ll be at the AfreecaTV studios to participate in their HUNGER GAMES.

That’s right, it’s the Korea food eating trend called meokbang (먹방) and I’ll be sitting down in front of the camera eating spicy food and competing in various competitions. It should be a blast.

Join me at http://afreeca.tv/stevemilleranw

Let The Rainbows Fly: Korean Pride


Hot on the heels of the landmark US Supreme Court decision to allow same-sex marriages nationwide, Seoul held its Pride Parade despite thousands of opponents arriving on scene in an attempt to shut it down.

The Korea Queer Culture Festival celebrated its 16th year during the month of June, but there was a time when it was legitimately questioned if the event would take place. Squaring off against not only “Christian” opposition groups, but also authorities, the event culminated in a thriving Korean Pride Parade that brought out thousands on both sides of the issue.

Asia Now is a special feature of the Asia News Weekly podcast.

If you enjoyed the podcast, please share it with your friends and if you haven’t, subscribe. Subscribing is free and when you do, the next episode is delivered automatically to you. You can subscribe on our website, AsiaNewsWeekly.net, or in your favorite podcast application.

You’ll be able to keep up with news from the region by following Asia News Weekly on Facebook or Twitter and if you have comments, questions, or feedback, be sure to drop a line to podcast@asianewsweekly.net.

[NSFW] What’s Up Asia?! – July 2015

Welcome to this month’s edition of What’s Up Asia?! recorded live via Google Hangouts on July 1, 2015. As always, it’s a pleasure to have you with me here today – My name is Steve Miller, host of the Asia News Weekly podcasts and I’m joined by popular Japan-based video blogger Hikosaemon.

Now, this is of course an informal chat, a water cooler discussion if you will, of topics spanning the month of June. Given the time we record, 10:30pm local time, we do, at times use more colorful language.

So, if you’re at work or are offended by some of those seven words you can’t say on the radio, this might not be a safe podcast for you, hence the NSFW tag.



Catch the live What’s up Asia?! show at 10:30pm (UTC+9) on the first Wednesday at http://youtube.com/hikosaemon.

If you enjoyed the podcast, please share it with your friends, be sure to join us live next month, and if you haven’t, subscribe. Subscribing is free and when you do, the next episode is delivered automatically to you. You can subscribe on our website, AsiaNewsWeekly.net, or in your favorite podcast application.

You’ll be able to keep up with news from the region by following Asia News Weekly on Facebook or Twitter and if you have comments, questions, or feedback, be sure to drop a line to podcast@asianewsweekly.net.