Shared prospects

Thank you to Mr Duncan Bartlett for your opportune and warming article about the blossoming China-Japan friendship and the famous Japanese approach to omotenashi(hospitality). I am a Chinese tourist who paid a visit to Japan a few months ago and I very much enjoyed the warm welcome we received from the people, it was very honest and open.

It is a pity our two countries have for a long time been suffering from political, diplomatic and territorial uneasiness, as Mr Bartlett writes about,because we have a lot in common on a cultural level. Chinese culture had a strong hold over Japan up until the fall of the Tang Dynasty and the impact of Chinese culture on Japan has been seen over a long time. Some people do not realise that Buddhism came to Japan through the Chinese and still today it has a strong influence over both China and Japan. It is natural that Japan would begin to evolve its own separate culture and identity but we have too much shared past and future possibilities to allow the terrible tension that has been built up in recent times to spoil our relationship. I hope the harmony between our two countries will continue to bloom and we can both benefit from the economic opportunities to expand that are presenting themselves in the current climate.

Hui Yin


A word of thanks

Dear Sirs

Re. the Seminar arranged by the Democracy Forum on ‘Afghanistan: The Challenges Ahead’, on 13 September. I thank you for inviting me to attend this well-organised seminar which was timely and important, given the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. The talks were excellent with well-informed and knowledgeable speakers, experts in their field.

Nasir Saberi
Managing Director
Abad Consulting Architect
Engineer, registered in Kabul,

Tough at the top

Dear Sir

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT: New finance minister Asad Umar is tasked with halting the decline in Pakistan’s economyWho would want to be in Imran Khan’s shoes as he takes on the top job in Pakistan?Your excellent articles in the September edition of Asian Affairs highlight the enormity of the tasks ahead of him as he must become both leader and follower of a country in crisis, leading it through an economic, political and diplomatic morass while having to follow the diktat of the military, who are widely agreed to be Pakistan’s real rulers.PM Khan is already bringing in the assistance of well-respected foreign economists in his newly-constituted economic advisory panel, who should advise him on how to reduce the current account deficit and whether to seek a bailout from the International Monetary Fund or turn towards China for more economic aid – no easy decision, That still leaves the mammoth jobs of cutting corruption, finding a way out of the mess caused by its ‘duality of policy’ regarding the Afghan conflict, and improving flagging relations with the US and India, about which past comments may return to haunt him. Your journalists’ sense of unease about how the inexperienced Khan will copeis shared by many, inside and outside of Pakistan.

Sheetal Kochar


A two-sided tragedy

Interesting history on the Rohingya Muslims in Burma, and the present crisis they are facing in Bangladesh over their status as ‘illegal migrants’ rather than refugees(‘Making room for Rohingyas’, September Asian Affairs). This is a sorry story that reflects the deep-rooted fear of incomers that is having a global impact, across Europe and America as well as Asia. And behind the tragedy of the refugees’ plight lies another; for, just as these people need aid and a safe haven, those who are afraid of their arrival have legitimate concerns over the economic, social and security effects that the new arrivals will have on the host nation. It is a predicament no-one seems able to resolve.


Benjamin Perlman


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