Shinzo Abe’s ‘womenomics’ never took root
As the Japanese prime minister ends his nearly eight-year run in office, one of the unfulfilled aspirations of his tenure is promoting women in the work force. Mr. Abe had found a name for his effort, “womenomics,” but many Japanese women say he did not go much beyond the slogan.
The Liberal Democratic Party moves toward picking a new prime minister today, but none of the contenders, including the front-runner, Yoshihide Suga, Mr. Abe’s chief cabinet secretary, are seen as likely to drastically change the environment for women.
What the data says: Women hold less than 12 percent of corporate management jobs, well below Mr. Abe’s original 30 percent target. And while the percentage of women in the work force rose during his tenure, to an all-time high of 52.2 percent, more than half of those women work in part-time or contract jobs that offer few career opportunities.
The next prime minister: Some women hope that Mr. Suga will be slightly more in tune with their needs. In Yokohama, where he served on the City Council, he worked to reduce long day-care waiting lists. However, he has also made public comments that reflect traditional views about a woman’s role in society.
China reopens schools the authoritarian way
As countries around the world struggle to safely reopen schools, China is harnessing the power of its authoritarian system to provide in-person learning to about 195 million students.
While the Communist Party has adopted many of the same sanitation and distancing procedures used elsewhere, it has rolled them out with a forceful, command-and-control approach that brooks no dissent. It has mobilized battalions of local officials and party cadres to inspect classrooms, deploy apps and other technology to monitor students and staff, and it has restricted their movements.
“The system is run like a military,” said Yong Zhao, a scholar at the University of Kansas who has studied education in China. “It just goes for it, no matter what anyone thinks.”
Meet Un A, North Korean YouTuber
Young, cheerful women like Un A are taking viewers inside North Korea’s restaurants, grocery stores, the renovated Metro and even the well-furnished home of a middle-class family. It’s an attempt to create a more modern image of an isolated dictatorship that is mostly associated with famine and human rights abuses.
Created for a global audience, the message in the slickly produced videos is simple: North Koreans are just like everyone else. They play sports in their free time, scream on roller coasters, shop in malls and eat pizza.
The source: The videos are the product of the North’s Propaganda and Agitation Department, which also oversees Ri Chun-hee, an anchorwoman who melts with emotions while delivering news about Kim Jong-un, the North’s leader.
If you have 15 minutes, this is worth it
The forces that shaped Kamala Harris’s parents
Shyamala Gopalan and Donald Harris grew up under British colonial rule on different sides of the planet. As young adults, they were each drawn to Berkeley, Calif., and became part of an intellectual circle that deeply influenced them.
Our reporter looks at the lives of the Democratic vice-presidential nominee’s parents in the Berkeley of the 1960s, “a crucible of radical politics, as the trade-union left overlapped with early Black nationalist thinkers.”
Here’s what else is happening
Afghan peace talks: The Taliban and the government began peace talks in Qatar on Saturday, aimed at shaping a power-sharing government that would end decades of war. The negotiations will be complicated by the threat of continued attacks, deep political divisions and by foreign powers pulling Afghan factions in opposing directions.
U.S. Marine deported: Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton left the Philippines on Sunday. He had received a pardon from President Rodrigo Duterte for the killing of a transgender woman, angering gay and transgender rights activists as well as nationalist groups.
West Coast wildfires: At least 20 people have died in the fires raging in California, Oregon and Washington, with dozens more missing and peak fire season only beginning.
Gulf states and Israel: Bahrain will establish full diplomatic relations with Israel, a month after the United Arab Emirates normalized ties. Israel offers the region a hedge against the declining role of the U.S. there, as well as a rich trading partner.
Snapshot: Above, rescue workers and residents in the Nepali area of Bahrabise, northeast of Kathmandu, on Saturday. At least 11 people have been killed in landslides set off by heavy rains and many more are feared dead. Many in the region had only just rebuilt homes that were damaged in the powerful 2015 earthquake.
What we’re reading: This article in Outside about a young American missionary who traveled to a remote Indian Ocean island to convert an uncontacted tribe to Christianity, and was killed by the islanders. Jill Taylor, an assistant standards editor, describes it as a “gripping, sensitively written account” that is “well worth the time it takes to read.”
Now, a break from the news
Cook: This shrimp scampi calls for a handful of small tomatoes, along with plenty of garlic and butter, for a bright, full-flavored meal.
Watch: These anime series depict athletes’ powers just beyond the realm of possibility.
Do: Get some advice on what to wear and how to build your wardrobe from Tan France, star of “Queer Eye.”
Even if you’re stuck at home, you can always find something to read, cook, watch and do. Our At Home collection is full of fun ideas.
And now for the Back Story on …
When home is everywhere and nowhere
Noor Brara, a writer, was raised between New York and New Delhi. She is a “third-culture kid,” a term coined for expatriate children who spend formative years overseas, relocating frequently in a world of hybrid cultures. She wrote about her experiences and about an upcoming HBO series about TCKs, as they are known. Here’s an excerpt from her article in our Style Magazine.
If asked, any third-culture kid will tell you that shape-shifting — rousing one of the many selves stacked within you to best suit the place you’re in — becomes a necessary survival skill, a sort of feigned fitting in that allows you to relate something of yourself to nearly everyone you meet.
As someone raised between New York and the diplobrat bubble of an international school in New Delhi, where friends would come and go every few years, I became adept at calibrating myself to find the points of connection between us, able to relate equally to someone from South Korea, Iceland, Japan, Italy or Jamaica, in many cases more so than to other Indian Americans whose lives, at least on paper, read closer to my own.
And because our stories couldn’t be gleaned from our outward appearances, accents or possessions, we all came humble to the table, open and permeable and ready to barter the surfaces of our souls: our learnings, our languages, our cuisines, our clothing.
While all of this contributed, certainly, to feeling perennially adrift (according to multiple studies by the American sociologist Ruth Useem and others, much as they may try, adult TCKs never wholly repatriate culturally), it blotted the sensation of feeling like we’d “grown up at an angle to everywhere and everyone,” as the writer Pico Iyer — of Indian parentage, raised between England and California, who now lives between California and Japan — told me during a recent conversation.
“Growing up with three cultures around or inside me, I felt that I could define myself by my passions, not my passport,” he said. “In some ways, I would never be Indian or English or Californian, and that was quite freeing, though people may always define me by my skin color or accent. But also, because I didn’t have that external way of defining myself, I had to be really rigorous and directed in grounding myself internally, through my values and loyalties and to the people I hold closest to me.”
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, and to Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about wildfire season in the American West.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Creme-filled cookie (Four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• New York Magazine profiled the Times media columnist, Ben Smith.