Unhealthy Rituals: How to Address the Occupational Health Hazards of Doing Business in China

June 27, 2013 Asia Pacific Memo 0

As China’s economy has grown, so has its burden of disease. Excessive practices of smoking, drinking and eating, along with a growing commercial sex industry, are leading to epidemics of cancer, diabetes, stroke, other cardio-vascular diseases and sexually transmitted infections. Something must be done about this before it threatens China’s economic growth, but the response must fit the problem. […]


Where to Have a Baby: Reducing Maternal Mortality in West Java

May 21, 2013 Asia Pacific Memo 0

Indonesia has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios (MMR) in Southeast Asia at 228 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births—double the Millennium Development Goal target number of 102 for the country in 2015. Lower levels of education and esteem for traditional birth attendants are influencing more than one third of Indonesian women to deliver at home. Women in the province of West Java in particular face a higher risk of maternal and neonatal mortality. […]


Overhauling China’s Organ Transplant System

March 28, 2013 Asia Pacific Memo 4

At a WHO conference in 2005, China’s vice-minister of health Huang Jiefu became the first public official to admit the country’s reliance on organs from executed inmates, and promised a transition to a voluntary donation system. A pilot for such a system has established a donation network set to expand this year, fixing the disorderly arrangements that have long been criticized by international health and human rights organizations. […]


Hikikomori: Entering Middle Age

March 19, 2013 Asia Pacific Memo 0

When the term “hikikomori” (引き籠もり, acute social withdrawal) was introduced by the Japanese media in the early 1990s, it referred to high school students or young adults. Government, academics and society blamed a range of social or cultural pressures that built up to breaking point (such as failing an exam). A government estimate in 2010 put the number of hikikomori at 700,000, though the actual figure may be far higher. Hikikomori are predominantly males from middle- or high-income families able to support them financially. Many of the first to withdraw over twenty years ago are now middle-aged and present Japan with a new set of social problems. […]


Judo in Japanese Schools – Concerns about Safety

November 20, 2012 Asia Pacific Memo 0

Memo #191 – Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe oversaw the revision of the 1947 Fundamental Law of Education to emphasise traditional “Japanese values” in 2006. As one direct result of this, traditional martial arts became compulsory in junior high schools in April 2012. Unlike the initial opposition to the new law, opposition to this particular aspect has not been led by teachers’ unions and their political allies, but by parents concerned about the health and safety of their children. […]

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Change in Democratic Mongolia (Video Interview with Dr. Julian Dierkes)

October 11, 2012 Asia Pacific Memo 0

Memo #181 – In this interview, Dr. Julian Dierkes introduces the edited volume “Change in Democratic Mongolia: Social Relations, Health, Mobile Pastoralism, and Mining.” By tracing rapid change in Mongolia in four broad fields of contemporary social relations, the chapters in this volume will elucidate the state of contemporary Mongolia and help us understand Mongolia ten or 20 years from now. […]