Japan Current Affairs - 2020

Japanese architect Arata Isozaki wins Pritzker Prize

Japanese Architect Arata Isozaki has received the Pritzker Prize 2019. He is the 46th laureate and eighth architect from Japan to win the Pritzker Prize. Arata Isozaki will be awarded the prize of $100,000 (£76,000) and a bronze medallion in May at a ceremony at the Château de Versailles in France.

Some of his major works include Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Palau Saint Jordi indoor sporting arena in Barcelona, he Allianz Tower in Milan, Italy, Qatar’s National Convention Centre, Kitakyushu’s Central Library in Japan, Thessaloniki concert hall’s second auditorium, M2, in Greece, Nara Centennial Hall in Japan etc.

Pritzker Prize

Pritzker Prize is an annual award to honour a living architect or architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.

The award constituted by Pritzker family of Chicago through their Hyatt Foundation in 1979. is often referred to as “architecture’s Nobel” and “the profession’s highest honour.”

Earlier awardees of the coveted prize include India’s Balkrishna Doshi, Jorn Utzon who designed the Sydney Opera House, Oscar Niemeyer of Brazil and the British-Iraqi designer, Zaha Hadid.

China hikes defence budget by 7.5%

China has increased its defence budget by 7.5 per to $177.61 billion up from last year’s $165 billion. The 2019 Defence Budget of China stood at 1.19 trillion yuan (about $177.61 billion) which is three times the Indian Defence Budget.

China’s Defence Budget

  • China’s Defence Budget growth rate stood at 7.6 per cent in 2016, 7 per cent in 2017 and 8.1 per cent in 2018.
  • China’s defence spending at $177.61 billion makes it the highest spender on defence after the United States.
  • China is equipping its People’s Liberation Army with state-of-the-art hardware, spending heavily on stealth warplanes, aircraft carriers and other weaponry.
  • The Chinese government has stated that the increased spending will “strengthen military training under combat conditions, and firmly protect China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests.”
  • China has also resorted to major reforms of its military, which included giving priority to expanding its navy and air force to enhance its influence abroad.

Increases Budget a Cause of Worry?

China is demonstrating a more posture towards Taipei and China is facing competing claims in the South China Sea from Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan together with a territorial dispute with historic rival Japan in the East China Sea. Hence increased Defence Budget of China may be a precursor to a more aggressive stance against its neighbours.

China has termed the increase in the defence budget as reasonable and appropriate aimed at meeting the country’s demand in safeguarding national security and military reform with Chinese characteristics. China also argues that China’s defence budget at 1.3 per cent of the GDP is much less than major developing countries which spend two per cent GDP on their defence.

China also states that whether a country is a military threat to others or not is not determined by its increase in defence expenditure, but by the foreign and national defence policies it adopts.