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Paige Fusco

Biden enlists Japan & Netherlands to fight US-China chips war

Japan and the Netherlands have reportedly agreed to join US export controls to stop China from getting the machines to make some of the world’s most advanced semiconductors — in part, the Biden administration claims, to make high-tech weapons. It's a major milestone in the broader US push to beat China in the race to dominate global tech with "weapons" such as the $52 billion CHIPS Act, which aims to subsidize domestic chipmaking in America and make it harder for China to access the tech.

We learn more from Eurasia Group's senior analyst Nick Reiners.

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Luisa Vieira

Will Japan grow its population before it's too late?

What if a hypothetical government, overtaxed by an aging, shrinking population, decided to ask its seniors to make the ultimate national sacrifice to voluntarily die?

That’s the premise of "Plan 75," a 2022 indie film that predicts a grim dystopian and not-too-distant future for a fictional Japan, where the elderly are offered compensation to submit to euthanasia and avoid being a burden to society when they turn 75.

Sure, it’s just a movie, but nowhere is more at risk of a demographic implosion than Japan. With a median age of 49, it’s the world's oldest country, and 28% of people are 65+. The nation of 125 million — whose annual births dropped below 800,000 for the first time in 2022, eight years earlier than forecasted — is expected to lose almost one-third of its population by 2060.

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US President Joe Biden, Mexican President AMLO and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau arrive for a joint news conference at the conclusion of the North American Leaders' Summit in Mexico City.

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

What We’re Watching: Three Amigos huddle, Peruvian violence, East Asia travel curbs

Three Amigos talk and ... that's all, folks

Well, some progress is better than none at all — at least among “friends.” At their “Three Amigos” summit on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, and Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador — known as AMLO — announced a slew of agreements on things like moving some US production of semiconductors to Mexico, cutting methane emissions to fight climate change, and installing EV charging stations on shared borders. But they failed to make significant headway on the thorniest issues: the record numbers of asylum seekers entering the US from Mexico; Mexican-made fentanyl causing a public health catastrophe for los gringos; and USMCA-related trade disputes such as Mexico's energy reforms or Canadian grumbling at the Biden administration's EV subsidies. Indeed, perhaps the best thing to come out of the summit is that Biden and AMLO — who had tense exchange on Day 1 — showed that despite their lack of personal chemistry, maybe they can be compadres after all.

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Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attends a press conference in Tokyo, Japan.

Reuters

Japan to go the way of the samurai: Why and at what cost?

After decades of pacifism, Japan recently announced that it will double its military budget over the next five years to become the world’s third-biggest defense spender behind the US and China.

How did Tokyo, whose commitment to pacifism is enshrined in the country’s post-war constitution, get here? And what are the implications – at home and abroad – of the world’s third-largest economy embarking on a major military buildup?

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FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried attends a press conference at the FTX Arena in downtown Miami.

Reuters

What We're Watching: Bankman-Fried in cuffs, China after "zero," Peru's next vote, Japan's proposed tax hike

FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried in cuffs

Sam Bankman-Fried, the shaggy-haired founder of FTX known colloquially as SBF, was arrested Monday night at his apartment in the Bahamas. FTX, the once booming crypto exchange, imploded last month after investors grew worried about the firm’s financial standing, leading to massive withdrawals. Unable to pay customers out, SBF had been funneling investors’ funds to a crypto hedge fund, while Bankman-Fried had also used billions of dollars to fund risky wagers. SBF, who ultimately declared bankruptcy last month, has recently been compared to infamous con artists like Bernie Madoff. On Tuesday, US federal prosecutors are set to release the indictment, which includes a host of financial crimes, including wire fraud and money laundering. What’s more, SBF’s arrest came the night before he was due to testify to the US Congress about the collapse of his $32 billion empire. It's unclear whether the former crypto whiz will fight extradition efforts.

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Japanese plaintiffs hold placards reading "A step towards Marriage Equality" outside the court after hearing the ruling on same-sex marriage in Tokyo.

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

What We're Watching: US-Japan send mixed LGBTQ signals, China + Russia rattle South Korea, Congress hits diversity milestone, baguettes get UNESCO nod

US & Japan make same-sex marriage waves

As the US steps forward (a bit) in protecting LGBTQ rights, Japan digs in its heels on the same issue — with a silver lining. On Tuesday night, a filibuster-proof majority of American senators passed a bill to enshrine the right to same-sex marriage in federal law. It repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which allowed US states not to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, although states will not be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Just hours later, a Tokyo court upheld Japan's ban on gay marriages by ruling against four couples who sued for discrimination. But there's a caveat: the same court admitted that the ban is a violation of human rights. What do these two developments mean on opposite sides of the world? In the US, passing the bill — which still needs a House vote, likely next week — was a rare show of bipartisanship in a culture-war issue like same-sex marriage, which many fear is the Supreme Court's next target after ending the federal right to an abortion. In Japan, the ruling might put pressure on Japanese lawmakers to finally give in and legalize same-sex marriages in the only G-7 country where it's still verboten. That would be a big shift for conservative Asia, where same-sex marriages are only legal in progressive Taiwan.

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A view of drones during a military exercise in an undisclosed location in Iran.

Iranian Army/WANA handout via REUTERS

Hard Numbers: Ukraine hits Iranian drones, Lula still leading, Japan needs stimulus, Chad bans opposition

70: Ukraine's military has shot down 70% of Iranian-made drones launched by Russia since mid-September. The drones are one of several reasons the war is having unexpected spillover effects in Middle Eastern politics.

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Former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad gestures during a news conference in Putrajaya.

REUTERS/Hasnoor Hussain

Hard Numbers: Forever young in Malaysia, global economy’s “darkest hour”, Swat protests, welcome back to Japan

97: Politics truly never gets old — especially in Malaysia, where former PM Mahathir Mohamad will compete in upcoming snap elections at the spry young age of … 97. For context, the world’s youngest leaders would need to be on the job for another six decades to be on Mahathir’s level.

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