No more reopening in Shanghai, Japan opens up to tourists, Singapore security summit

Welcome to your week in Asia.

Shanghai recently lifted a two-month COVID-19 lockdown, and some students are expected to return to class this week. The impact of the harsh pandemic measures on China’s economy will be highlighted later in the week when it releases trade and inflation figures for May.

On Friday, Japan is expected to welcome international tourists for the first time in two years, but with strict conditions. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will join defense ministers from the United States and China for the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit in Singapore.

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Shanghai schools begin to reopen

Shanghai high school students are to resume their studies in the classroom ahead of July’s college entrance exam, as the city rolls back its strict COVID-19 prevention measures. The rest of the students will resume online lessons until June 30 before summer vacation next month.

KMT chairman opens office in Washington

Eric Chu, chairman of Taiwan’s largest opposition party, the Kuomintang, will host the opening of the KMT office in Washington, DC. The event marks a return of the party’s presence in the United States. It is also Chu’s first visit to the United States since he was elected KMT chairman in September last year. His trip comes as Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party strengthens ties with Washington amid rising tensions with Beijing. Taiwan is due to hold local elections in November.

Sedition trial of Olympic protester Koo Sze-yiu begins

Hong Kong activist Koo Sze-yiu is due to stand trial after pleading not guilty to committing a seditious act during a planned protest against the Beijing Winter Olympics earlier this year. The 75-year-old faces up to two years in prison for sedition, but the indictment made available to the press did not reveal any details of Koo’s alleged crime. A coffin with the words “human rights are above the Winter Olympics” was seized from Koo’s apartment during an investigation.

Annual Apple Developer Conference

Apple will kick off its Worldwide Developers Conference with a keynote broadcast live by CEO Tim Cook. This is the company’s third year holding the event in a fully virtual format despite the recent easing of COVID-19 restrictions in California. The tech giant is expected to unveil new updates to its various operating systems and details about upcoming products. Although no new iPhones were announced at the mid-year event, Apple has unveiled updates to other products, such as the Mac and Apple Watch, at previous conferences.


Kishida’s “new capitalism” action plan

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will spell out his “new capitalism” economic policy for the first time since taking office in October. It is expected to outline a growth strategy centered on investing in people, science and technology, startups, decarbonization and digital, Nikkei reported. Its priorities also include strengthening defense capabilities.

Tencent closes Penguin eSports streaming platform

Tencent’s Penguin Esports video game streaming platform will cease operations late Tuesday, following the tech giant’s announcement earlier this year that it will cut non-essential operations this year. Launched six years ago, Penguin Esports’ market share was far below competitors such as Douyu and Huya. Tencent saw zero growth in the March quarter, after the company came under tight control from Beijing, along with other internet and technology companies since last year. The company previously said the closure was due to “changes in the company’s growth strategy.”

Monetary Policy Announcement: Australia


Hong Kong legislature passes copyright bill

A controversial copyright bill, which aims to update existing legislation and expand intellectual property protections, will be read in the Hong Kong Legislative Assembly on Wednesday. The bill, which has already been blocked by opposition lawmakers twice, is expected to bolster the city’s status as an intellectual property trading hub. Critics say the bill has implications for free speech and could punish works of parody or satire, leading to further self-censorship. The bill has been subject to a three-month public consultation and is expected to be read and voted on without any opposition, after Beijing overhauled Hong Kong’s electoral system to ensure that only those considered ‘patriots’ can be elected.

Revised GDP of Japan in Q1


Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s largest contract chipmaker, will host its annual shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday. TSMC is expected to face shareholder inquiries about its progress in cutting-edge chip production technologies, as well as the latest status of its factories in the United States and Japan.

Monetary Policy Announcement: Thailand, India


China trade data

China is due to report trade data for the month of May, in which factory production was halted due to COVID-19 restrictions. The latest monthly consumer price index will also be revealed after an annual jump of 1.5% in April, the fastest pace in three months.

Thailand legalizes home cultivation of cannabis

Cannabis and hemp will be removed from Thailand’s banned narcotics list from Thursday, allowing anyone in the kingdom to grow the plants at home. The easing of rules on recreational marijuana holds promise for Thailand’s tourism-dependent economy as COVID entry restrictions are eased. While licensing regulations remain applicable to the commercial cultivation of cannabis, corporate groups ranging from Charoen Pokphand to Mandarin Oriental hotels have invested huge sums in the development of cannabis products and services. The economic windfall could benefit the country’s ruling parties, if this year ends with snap elections.

Business income: Bilibili Jewelry, Nio, Chow Tai Fook


Japan begins to accept tourists

Japan will start accepting international tourists again for the first time in about two years, starting with package tour groups. Those traveling from 98 countries and regions classified as “blue” – or low-risk locations – will be permitted. These include most of the country’s major inbound tourism industry markets, such as South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand. Ahead of the reopening, Japan doubled the daily cap on visitor arrivals to 20,000 on June 1.

Shangri La Dialogue

Leaders and defense ministers from the United States, Europe and Asian countries will meet in Singapore for a three-day security summit, hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a group think tank based in the UK. Among the participants are Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chinese Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe. The summit returns after being canceled for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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