north korea

(U.S. Pacific Command/Creative Commons)

After World War II, Japan adopted a constitution that formally renounced war or maintaining military forces.

Now Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to change that. Bolstered by his party’s big win in recent elections, Abe wants to purge the pacifist clause in Japan’s constitution. The move could lead the country into future wars and is reopening a debate in Japan on the country’s role in the world. 

On this edition of Global Journalist, we look at Japan’s post-World War II pacifism and what a change of course would mean for relations with its Asian neighbors and the U.S.


AP Photo

Sixty-four years ago, a ceasefire brought a halt to the Korean War and left Korea divided.

But in recent weeks the frozen conflict on the Korean peninsula threatened to re-erupt over the North’s nuclear weapons program. President Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury” and the North’s Kim Jong Il countered with a plan to launch an “enveloping fire” of missiles towards the U.S. territory of Guam.

The showdown has tested the credibility of both leaders and raised anew the prospect of nuclear war in East Asia. On this edition of Global Journalist: a look at how such a war might come about and how a more stable peace could be achieved.


European Press Agency

In April, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's air force dropped bombs containing sarin nerve gas on a rebel area in northern Syria. Around 100 people were killed and hundreds more injured, including a number of children.

The slaughter highlighted the renewed threat of chemical and biological weapons. Both Assad's forces and rebel groups have used chemical weapons in Syria, demonstrating the dangers of proliferation. Meanwhile new gene editing technologies allow for the creation of more virulent and deadly bio-weapons.

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at the history and future of chemical and biological weapons.


European Press Agency

Most people outside of Central Asia know little about the gas-rich desert nation of Turkmenistan.

The former Soviet Republic has virtually no independent media and just a handful of bookstores.  Foreign journalists and scholars are rarely granted visas to visit.

So it's no surprise that presidential elections this month in a state sometimes compared to North Korea are little more than a show staged to buttress President Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov. 

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at one of the world's most isolated countries and the cult of personality built around its leader. 


AP Photo

A key pillar of President Barack Obama's foreign policy has been the attempted "pivot to Asia."

The idea was that under President Bush, the U.S. expended enormous resources fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. That focus was a detriment to American relationships with the surging economies of the Asia-Pacific region - an area expected to account for half of the world economy by the middle of this century.

Obama’s goal was to put new heft to the political, economic and military relations in places like China, Indonesia and Thailand – and avoid getting pulled into more conflicts in the Middle East or problems in Europe. As Obama prepares to leave office, this edition of Global Journalist examines whether this policy has succeeded – or amounted to little more than talk. 


AP

For more than two decades, China has moved from strength to strength. Its economic miracle has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and dramatically increased the nation's global influence.

But recently China's growth has hit a major speed bump, weakening the Communist Party's major rationale for one-party rule . Meanwhile China faces new challenges in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the South China Sea. 

On this week's Global Journalist, a look at the leadership of President Xi Jinping and how China's greater place in the world has led to greater domestic and international challenges.


Jon Chol Jin / AP

North Korea has long been a forbidden land for journalists, human rights advocates, and pretty much anyone who publicly disagrees with the regime’s philosophies and practices. But there have been more and more cracks in the facade, and people are beginning to share their stories with the rest of the world.

Updated at 1:25 p.m. ET

North Korea is calling an attack on U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert by a knife-wielding political activist "deserved punishment" for America's joint military exercises with Seoul. Meanwhile, Lippert, who has received stitches to his face and undergone surgery on his arm after the assault, says he is "doing well."

Updated at 6:00 p.m. ET

President Obama called Sony's decision to pull its film The Interview, following threats to movie theaters, a "mistake."

"We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States," the president said in his year-end news conference.

He added that he was "sympathetic" to Sony's concerns, but, "I wish they would have spoken to me first."

In June, Global Journalist producer and MU graduate student David Cawthon traveled to Seoul where media professionals gave a glimpse of it’s like to report within the shrouded borders of North Korea. He joined Global Journalist to discuss what journalists revealed about one of the world’s most secretive nations.

Earlier this year, The Associated Press announced it would be opening a permanent comprehensive bureau in the capital city, Pyongyang.