Asia Minute

President of Russia /

One of the most powerful rulers in Asia is resigning. He has led the central Asian nation of Kazakhstan for nearly three decades — and what comes next is not clear.

World Economic Forum / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 / Flickr

There is a business news story from India this week about a pair of famous brothers who appear to have reached a truce in their long-time feud.

Benson Kua / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr

One of the largest cities in Southeast Asia has been suffering through a water crisis. While the worst of Manila’s water crisis is over, questions still remain.

Alfred T. Palmer / Library of Congress

A new report out this week from the United Nations shows growing concern about air pollution. The problem is getting markedly worse in many areas — especially in parts of Asia.

MiNe / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

The United States is far from the only country to be facing a presidential election next year. One of the more interesting races may turn out to be Taiwan — where not all the influences on the campaign are domestic.

Wikimedia Commons

The United States and China are continuing trade talks, and the outcome remains uncertain. On Tuesday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told a Senate panel “our hope is that we are in the final weeks” of the talks. But in the meantime, one area that’s experiencing some volatility is China’s auto sector.

pjs2005 / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr

International safety officials are in Ethiopia, still investigating that tragic air crash over the weekend. In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration is keeping the Boeing 737 Max 8 in the air. But some countries have temporarily grounded that airplan including at least two in Asia.

President of Russia /

One of Southeast Asia’s longest serving prime ministers met last week with one of the region’s most controversial leaders. Their talks were wide-ranging, and included some advice about immigration.

Craig Nagy / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr

South Korea is wrapping up a difficult period for air quality. Earlier this week, some measures of air pollution in the national capital hit their worst levels in several years. And something else is in the air: politics.


One of the largest suppliers of electricity for the island of O‘ahu is a coal-fired power plant. While Hawai‘i is committed to reduce its use of fossil fuels in coming years, it’s a different story for another location in the Asia Pacific.

Nishant Vyas / Creative Commons / Pexels

The United States and China are still negotiating about trade. While businesses and markets wait for developments on that front, another trading partner in the region is facing a disruption.

111 Emergency / Creative Commons / Flickr

Several shootings involving officers from the Honolulu Police Department and the Department of Public Safety have taken place in the last few weeks. While internal investigations are continuing, recent violence elsewhere in the Asia Pacific is drawing attention to a significant difference when it comes to police departments.

Tim J Keegan / Creative Commons / Flickr

The weather has been a bit chillier than usual recently across much of Hawai‘i. It’s been another story entirely when it comes to Australia.

Dan Scavino Jr. / Twitter

Now that President Trump is back in the United States, his focus has shifted back to domestic matters. But there are lingering questions about his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. And many of those questions are being asked in Asia.

Mark Morgan / Creative Commons / Flickr

A U.S. Senate panel has issued a report that’s critical of an educational organization backed by the Chinese government. And it’s a group that has a presence here in Hawai‘i.

a_brlnr / Flickr

As President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un prepare for their second summit, a lot of attention has shifted to the country hosting the meeting: Vietnam. While the country’s political system is still under the tight control of the Communist Party, the economy has expanded its ties with international businesses.

NASA Earth Observatory / Flickr

Fire season in Southeast Asia won’t reach its peak for several months. But parts of Indonesia are already being hit with forest fires and heavy haze.

KOKUYO / Wikimedia Commons

Taiwan has taken another step toward becoming the first government in Asia to recognize same sex marriage. But the proposal still faces opposition, and some complications.


The United States and China are continuing trade talks this week in Washington. But Chinese trade elsewhere in the Pacific has moved to the top of the economic agenda for a U.S. ally.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Marc Castaneda / U.S. Navy

One of the world’s largest multinational military exercises has been underway for more than a week. It hasn’t captured many headlines in the United States, but American forces from across the Asia Pacific are taking part.

urnes / Flickr

There is renewed tension this week in one of the most volatile parts of the Indo-Pacific region. This follows a terrorist attack last week that has sparked accusations between India and Pakistan.

mercado2 / Pixabay

You might be starting a four-day work week today. Yesterday’s observance of Presidents’ Day was a holiday for some workers, although not for everyone. But the idea of a permanently shortened work week is growing in popularity in many places. And that includes some countries in the Asia Pacific.

Bronisław Piłsudski / National Museum of Natural History, National Anthropological Archives

Japan’s government is planning to recognize an ethnic minority as an indigenous people of Japan. It’s part of a bill before parliament which would mark a move forward for a group that has long faced discrimination.

Jon Russell / Flickr

Bike sharing has grown as a business — not only here in Hawai‘i, but also in many cities around the world. But one of the largest bike sharing companies in the world is facing new problems this week in Asia.

Daniel Case / Wikimedia Commons

Visitor spending in Hawai‘i increased nearly 7-percent last year. It grew even faster in China, but that was the slowest growth in a decade. And when it comes to Chinese headed overseas, the figures tell a different story.

A long-running urban train project is about to mark a major milestone. Not that one . . . this has nothing to do with Honolulu’s rail project. But it does involve political maneuvering and inflated expectations.

Matti Blume / Wikimedia Commons

There’s a trans-Pacific trade controversy that’s been building for years between the United States and one of its leading trade partners. This one has nothing to do with China, but it does affect a major American company — and shows that international trade rules don’t always keep up with market conditions.

MikesPhotos / Pixabay

Electric vehicles still make up a small percentage of the cars on Hawai‘i’s roads — although they are growing. And according to a recent report by the credit agency Experian, Honolulu is among the top ten markets in the country for electric cars. But when it comes to batteries for electric vehicles, that part of the story comes from Asia.

Ninara / Flickr

Air pollution has been an increasing problem for nearly two months in Thailand’s capital. Conditions have become so bad that public schools closed for more than a week, and top government officials were summoned to court to testify about it.

Shealah Craighead
The White House / Flickr

President Trump covered a lot of ground in his State of the Union address this week — including trade issues with China. A U.S. delegation is heading to China next week for another round of talks, but a tariff deadline is fast approaching.