🌏 Japanese PM Kishida wants to bolster security ties with EU and US

🌏 Japanese PM Kishida wants to bolster security ties with EU and US

Plus: Russia shakes up its top military command (again)

Hi there Intriguer. The first Friday the 13th of every year is World Blame Someone Else Day. Woke up late? Blame someone else. Lied on your resume to get elected to the US House of Representatives? Blame someone else. Don’t like this edition of your favourite newsletter? You know what to do!

Today’s briefing is a 4 min read:

  • 🇯🇵 Japan’s PM tours the world ahead of this year’s G7 Summit.
  • 🇷🇺 Can a new Russian military commander turn the tide of the war?
  • ➕ Plus: Uganda’s Twitter-obsessed general, how the papers are covering the Chinese Foreign Minister’s trip to Africa, and a few recommendations for your weekend.

– VC & EP

  1. 🇦🇪 The UAE: The CEO of the UAE’s national oil company has been named president of this year’s COP28 climate conference in Dubai. Make of that what you will. (Al-Monitor)
  2. 🇰🇷 South Korea: In a significant policy shift, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol is considering buying or developing nuclear weapons to deter North Korean threats. (Korea Times)
  3. 🇮🇩 Indonesia: President Joko Widodo apologised for historical state-sponsored human rights violations, including an anti-communist purge that killed as many as 500,000 people from 1965-1966. (The Wire)
  4. 🇧🇷 Brazil: President Lula da Silva accused local police of colluding with protesters who stormed government buildings last Sunday. A Supreme Court Judge has ordered the arrest of two top district security officials. (Washington Post $)
  5. 🇩🇪 Germany: Protesters lost an appeal to save a small town in western Germany that is being absorbed by a nearby coal mine. The mine’s operations have been expanded to bolster German energy supplies. (Deutsche Welle)

Via Giphy.

Japanese PM’s week-long diplomatic tour secures defence agreements with the West

Briefly: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida finishes his whirlwind world tour in Washington today after pit stops in France, Italy, the UK, and Canada earlier this week.

Top of the list for Kishida was to secure closer security cooperation with the West, and set a productive agenda for the 2023 G7 Summit, which Japan will host in Hiroshima in May.

The Japanese Prime Minster’s week so far reads like a Craig David song:

  1. France vowed to strengthen Indo-Pacific cooperation with Japan on Monday.
  2. Kishida and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni agreed to elevate their relationship to a “strategic partnership” on Tuesday.
  3. Japan and the UK had signed a defence agreement that allows each military to deploy on the other’s soil by Wednesday.
  4. And on Thursday and Friday, the Japan-US relationship reached new heights (literally) as the two countries held talks on space security in case of a satellite attack.
  5. No word yet on whether he’ll chill on Sunday.

Intrigue’s take: Kishida will meet Biden later today, and there are signs the two countries will officially raise the level of their bilateral relationship. In plain English – the two countries will openly cooperate more closely to counter China’s influence in East Asia.

The official readout of the meeting will be interesting (something we very rarely say!) because, as analysts Zach Cooper and Eric Sayers note, “for the first time in decades, Tokyo and Washington are seriously preparing for the possibility of a major conflict in the near term.”

Also worth noting: 


How newspapers are covering: Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang’s current trip to Ethiopia, Gabon, Angola, Benin and Egypt from 9-16 January.

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In Bakhmut, 10 kilometers southwest of Soledar. Source: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP.

Putin shakes up his military command while Russian mercenaries claim victory

Briefly: The chief of Russia’s general staff General Valery Gerasimov has replaced General Sergei Surovikin as commander of Russian troops in Ukraine. Surovikin served in the post for only three months. Most military analysts expect Russia to launch a fresh wave of attacks on Ukrainian positions in the spring.

What it means: The shake-up comes a day after the Kremlin-backed mercenary group Wagner claimed control of the eastern town of Soledar. If accurate, it would be Russia’s first major territorial gain in six months – something Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin has proudly pointed out.

Analysts don’t expect Surovikin’s replacement to improve the Russian military’s performance. In fact, RAND Corporation’s Dara Massicot says the Kremlin has “taken someone who is competent and replaced him with someone who is incompetent, but who has been there a long time and who has shown that he is loyal.”

Intrigue’s take: The appointment of a staunch loyalist like Gerasimov suggests Putin feels the need to tighten the chain of command. Might he be worried that Prigozhin is getting a little too big for his boots?

Also worth noting: 

  • As of Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukrainian forces continued to battle for control of Soledar.
  • The UK and Poland are sending tanks to Ukraine; Germany may follow.

That’s the son of the Ugandan president…

… Muhoozi Kainerugaba. When he’s not tweeting prolifically, he’s also a four-star general in the Ugandan Army. In addition to floating the idea of invading Kenya, General Kainerugaba has also suggested the US join the African Union, and asked for Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s hand in marriage (to no avail).

We mention this because General Kainerugaba is positioning himself to succeed his father, Yoweri Museveni, who has been President since 1986 and is nearly 80 years of age. Because what the world needs is more powerful people tweeting from the hip. 🙄


With the weekend fast approaching, Intrigue editor Ethan has some ways to unwind. If you’ve got…


Japenese prime ministers don’t get to have all the fun! Where do you most want to travel this year?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Yesterday’s poll: How do you invest your money during economically uncertain times?

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 📈 Stocks. They’re cheap right now (49%)

🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ 💵 Government-issued bonds (10%)

🟨🟨🟨🟨⬜️⬜️ 🛏️ Nowhere, I’m waiting til the moment’s right (41%)

Your two cents: 

  • 📈 J.S: “Some stocks might even get cheaper. As this economic downturn might take another few years, don’t buy into stocks in one go but average your buy-in prices over a set period.”
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