David M. Malitz

Shinzo Abe’s Legacy for the Future of Japanese-Southeast Asian Relations

The tragic murder of former prime minister Shinzo Abe on 8 July 2022 while campaigning for in Japan, a country known for its very low rates of violent crime, stunned the world. After a short first term in office (2006-2007), Shinzo Abe became Japan’s longest serving prime minister in history during a second premiership (2012-2020). During and due to his long time in office, Abe shaped Japan like few of his predecessors. Encouraging international tourism and allowing for more but still very limited immigration has visibly changed Japan, while the comprehensive reforms to Japanese security politics have arguably received most interest from the international press as did his declared goal to revise the Japanese postwar constitution and Article 9 outlawing belligerence. Shinzo Abe did not achieve [...]

Bima Prawira Utama

  • Indonesian president Joko Widodo’s first visit to Japan after the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was marked by a statement from Joko Widodo himself. The president said, “Abe was an important leader who brought the strategic partnership between Indonesia and Japan into existence.” This might succinctly sum up how Abe improved Japanese-Indonesian relations during his time in office. While acting as prime minister, Indonesia and Japan strengthened their cooperation in various fields such as economic development, [...]

David M. Malitz

  • In Thailand, flags were flown half-staff following the murder of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The Thai prime minister, General Prayuth Chan-o-cha, who first came to the premiership after his coup in 2014, also posted a condolence message on his Facebook page. It referred to Abe as “Japan’s favorite son” who had made “his beloved Japan and the world a better place”. And despite the tilt of his government towards the People’s Republic of China (PRC), he also referred to Abe as a “great friend”. But General Prayuth was [...]

Karl Ian Cheng Chua

  • While formally announcing the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to the world, Shinzo Abe might be remembered as the “cool” Japanese Prime Minister who cosplayed as Super Mario during the closing of the Rio Olympics on 22 August 2016. Some years later a more harrowing scene would play out on TV. The Philippines, along with the world, watched in horror the footage of his shooting which took place at a political event in Nara City, Japan on 8 July 2022. Tetsuya Yamagami, shot the former prime minister using an homemade firearm. The incident was a tragic end to Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister. There is no question of the influence [...]

Hoang Minh Hang

  • Despite long historical trade relations between the two countries, it was only on September 21st, 1973 when Vietnam and Japan officially established diplomatic relations. More recently, since the beginning of the 21st century the relationship between the two countries has developed impressively. This achievement is down to the efforts of both countries, but the significant contributions of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in building strong ties cannot be ignored. Under the Abe administration, [...]

Kei Koga

  • The murder of the former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe created shock waves to the world, including Singapore. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wrote on his Facebook wall immediately after Abe was shot on July 8th, adding his condolences after Abe’s death was announced. Followingly, President Halimah Yacob, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Law Minister K. Shanmugam, and Vice Prime Minister Lawrence Wong (the presumptive next fifth generation Prime Minister), posted condolences in their Facebook walls and Twitter feeds. On July 9, 2022, Lee sent an official condolence message to Prime Minister Kishida on behalf [...]


Message from the Editor:


KRSEA has achieved its new milestone both in terms of greater global reach and its continued promotion of indigenous languages of Southeast Asia. It is now time to celebrate our achievement with the launch of this book. At the Crossroads unravels a critical juncture in Southeast Asia, from 2017 to 2021, a juncture replete with changes, contestations and challenges facing the region, from different viewpoints: political, economic, social, and cultural. This time, we bring together all the English articles published from January 2017 to December 2020 into one volume.


Gerard McDermott

From the editor: The spectre of digital authoritarianism for Southeast Asia

A new form of authoritarianism has emerged in Southeast Asia since the mid-2010s. Although varying in scope and intensity across the region’s defective democracies and military or one-party dominated regimes, significant and worrying developments related to surveillance, data collection, censorship, misinformation, and harassment can be observed across nearly all of Southeast Asia’s digital realms. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early-2020, authoritarian leaders have been provided with an opportunity to greatly enhance their ability to monitor, censor, and misinform their populations. The pandemic has provided justification for the implementation of emergency legislation, the mass acquisition of biometric data, [...]

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