October 17, 2017—Japan holds general elections on October 22. Polls suggest Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will secure its current large majority of seats. Abe’s personal popularity has sagged due to family and cabinet scandals. Nevertheless, voters welcome an improving local economy and support his plans to strengthen the armed forces and increase education and childcare spending.
October 16, 2017— On Thursday, the European Union (EU) and UK concluded their fifth round of Brexit negotiations. At this point—sixteen months since the Brexit referendum vote—six months since the invocation of Article 50 (to formally start the two-year clock for Brexit negotiations)—and several rounds deep into negotiations—one would think the two sides would have made more progress on key issues.