Happy New Year from Japan: 2023 and continuing conflicts
Kanako Mita, Sawako Utsumi, and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The year 2022 in Japan under Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was woeful. Real wages declined by 2.6% from 12 months earlier, a trade deficit was announced every month, coronavirus (Covid-19) deaths keep flowing at a higher level, the Nikkei stock market declined by 9.4 percent, and other grim economic news.
It is hoped that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party will stop fixating on doubling the military budget and instead focus on bread-and-butter issues. Individuals in Japan rightly want real wages to grow at a pace that is higher than inflation – and where new hope emerges after decades of mainly static wages.
Internationally, the Ukraine conflict with indigenous Russians in the Donbass (Donbas) region witnessed the Russian Federation entering the conflict, the Sahel remains fragile and blighted by several conflicts, Armenians continue to fear being crushed in other parts of Nagorno-Karabakh, West Papuans keep on struggling for independence from Indonesia, ethnic conflict in South Sudan, internal and external intrigues in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and ongoing conflicts in Syria, Yemen, and other parts of the world – entails that 2023 will continue to witness bloodshed. Hence, the refugee population will continue to grow along with mass immigration – and food insecurity at just below 400 million people is likely to increase further in 2023.
The administration of President Joe Biden in America needs to take a step back from antagonizing China and instead focus on cooperation where possible. Likewise, political elites in Moscow and Washington need to work through back channels to reduce the crisis between both nations, which threatens to escalate outside the ongoing military arena. France also needs to listen to nations throughout the Sahel and reduce tensions. If not, international jihadists will prosper throughout the entire region.
The international community needs to put pressure on Myanmar concerning the persecution of Aung San Suu Kyi. Regional nations also need to pressure the ruling elites in Myanmar to step back from the endless isolation of this country. This can only happen once the ruling elites seek to make compromises and somehow reset the democratic path: if not, Myanmar faces a bleak future.
In South America, political tensions continue in Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela, and a few other nations. Drug cartels will also continue to blight several nations.
In the Middle East (West Asia), the Yazidis are still enslaved by ISIS (Islamic State – IS), young women and other protesters are still being killed by the state apparatus in Iran, Iraq is blighted by insecurity, and conflicts in Syria and Yemen are never-ending. The Kurds also continue to face persecution in several nations throughout the region. Therefore, fresh hope is needed to solve several conflicts.
It is hoped that some of the problems mentioned in this article will be addressed at a higher level by regional and international forces that seek compromises and conflict resolution.
Other international problems haven’t been mentioned because so many exist – from the Chittagong Hill Tracts to Darfur and many others. Also, environmental issues, the exploitation of labor, and the growing gap between rich and poor continue to blight humanity.
Despite all the above in this article – Modern Tokyo Times wishes our loyal readership a Happy New Year from Japan.
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