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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek

MARCH 31, 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 12

Newsmakers


Edwin Tuyay for Asiaweek
Chung Ju Yung -- The father falters, the sons flail

A Family Affair
It's almost Shakespearean. The Hyundai family feud has it all - an aged father deposed by his eldest son, one who seeks to dominate family affairs; a younger brother who puts his favorite lieutenant forward to do his corporate bidding but is out-maneuvered. In early March, Chung Mong Koo removed his brother, Chung Mong Hun, and father, Chung Ju Yung, from the Hyundai Motors board of directors. In an apparent move to seize all-out control of Hyundai Securities - the financial anchor of the drifting chaebol - Mong Koo named his corporate ally Noh Chung Ik to replace Lee Ik Chi at its head. Lee is a close confidante of Mong Hun, and the move came while Mong Hun was out of the country. For now, Noh is in control. As dueling continues in the corporate palace, Hyundai stock prices are sinking and more of the company is being hived off to outsiders. Loyal executives with years of service are wondering who they are going to be working for once Hyundai's holdings are parceled out between the feuding brothers - and fear they'll be cast to the mercies of the foreign infidels baying at the castle gate.

Let's Try This One More Time
Thai Election Commissioner Yuwarat Kamolvej's "List of Shame" (as one newspaper dubbed it) looks more like a political who's who than who isn't. Yuwarat slapped down 78 of the 200 winners of the March 4 election, charging them with either vote buying or fraud. He coolly ticked off the names at a press conference. On the A-list: ex-coup leader Manoon Roopkachorn and Chaweewan Kachornprasart, aide and wife, respectively, of Democrat Party secretary-general Sanan Kachornprasart. Also in the line-up are Chiang Mai's influential military figure Maj.-Gen. Intharat Yodbangtoey; gambling advocate Chatchawan Khongudom, Usanee Chidchob, sister of Deputy Agriculture Minister Newin Chidchob; Maliwan Ngernmuen, wife of Justice Minister Ngernmuen; Sawat Amornwiwat, former police chief; and Vichien Techapaibul, banker and current senator (also facing charges of alleged wrongdoing at his bank). A clean sweep by the election commission?No, the commission decided that it only had enough evidence to prove that three of the 78 winners (and two losers) were actually guilty. The rest will be allowed to run again.

 
  ALSO IN ASIAWEEK

COVER: Seismic Changes
Can president-elect Chen Shui-bian meet the historic challenges posed by a changing Taiwan - and by China?
The Challenge: Now comes the hard part
Reality Check: Beijing will have to deal with the new Taiwan
Profile: Chen's split personality

Editorial: Taiwan and China have reason aplenty to make peace
Editorial: Asia needs new policies to combat prostitution

THE NATIONS
South Asia: Clinton to India and Pakistan - Start Talking
'Limited War': Don't let the term fool you
Philippines: Sister Christine vs. Estrada - yet another scandal
Extended Interview: Salamat Hashim calls for independence
Myanmar: Behind the secret "Chilston" meetings
Inside Story: Asia's "Insiders" - four people who have blown the whistle on wrongdoing
Viewpoint: A Malaysian race for Islamization?

ARTS & SCIENCES
People: Sumo's big brother calls it quits
Heritage: The struggle to save Penang's old George Town
Art: Digital works blur the line between tech and expression
Books: Why healthcare was so bad in Suharto's Indonesia
Health: Noni - The craze over a smelly green fruit
Newsmakers: Thai "List of Shame" riles the privileged

TECHNOLOGY
Games: Microsoft's X-factor
Computing: IBM's Deep Blue man is now into e-commerce
Cutting Edge: An e-book horror story

BUSINESS
Bankruptcy: The court-ordered restructuring of TPI suggests Thailand is coming to grips with deadbeat borrowers
Room to Improve: Inadequate laws in Indonesia and Korea
No Hype: Can Singapore's Pacific Internet regain investor favor?
Renong: The Malaysian conglomerate sells off key assets
Business Buzz: A deal to lift Singapore's spirits

Investing: How rising U.S. interest rates will affect Asia

He's Coming Back . . .
But to what? According to a highly knowledgeable source, Abdullah Ahmad, 62, Malaysia's special envoy to the United Nations declined the option of renewing his post for a third two-year term at the New York headquarters. So what is the job that is bringing him back to Kuala Lumpur when he leaves the U.N. on May 1? Abdullah is not talking, but the word is that it will be in the private sector. Starting out as a journalist, the energetic and voluble "Dollah" made the move into politics in 1963, winding up at the U.N. in 1996 - even though he was detained as a "communist" from 1976 to 1981 under the notorious Internal Security Act. And he skirted trouble last year when Bank Negara assistant governor Abdul Murad Khalid mentioned his name on a "cronies list" linked to jailed former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim. Abdullah successfully denied any impropriety. The man is a survivor. Watch for his next move.

Passage

Died
Ramon V. Mitra, 72, Philippine opposition leader during Ferdinand Marcos's martial law and former speaker of the House of Representatives, of liver cancer that spread to other parts of the body, on March 20, in Manila. The mild-mannered Mitra, born out of wedlock to a prominent Luzon politician father, struggled to rise above the poverty of his native rural Palawan. A stint as a journalist led to legal studies which resulted in a diplomatic career by the age of 29. Mitra eventually became Palawan's senator only to be jailed for two years by Marcos. With the ascendancy of Corazon Aquino in 1986, Mitra became agriculture secretary - which gave him a chance to battle the monopolistic sugar and coconut growers. For many voters his lack of success in doing that tagged him as a "trapo" - a traditional politician - and he was easily beaten by Fidel Ramos in the 1992 presidential elections.

To Be Appointed President
Carlos Ghosn, 46, the chief operating officer of Nissan Motor Co., who has been spearheading the restructuring program at Japan's second-largest car-maker, will also be named president in late June. In October Ghosn, installed by French automaker Renault SA which owns 36.8% of Nissan, launched his controversial (for Japan, at least) revival plan for Nissan, aiming to make the company profitable in fiscal year 2000. Ghosn says he will press for further globalization of Nissan, both in production and sales.

Death Sentence Sought
In concluding their case against ousted Pakistan PMNawaz Sharif on March 21, prosecutors said they will seek his execution. Sharif's defense team starts its arguments on March 24, to defend him against charges of hijacking and attempted murder.

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