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As evidenced by the title “ Excessive Use of Deadly Force by Police in the Philippines Before Duterte” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2018.1471155), Peter Kreuzer of the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) in Germany, examines data for the period before President Duterte launched his deadly war on drugs.

Under President Duterte the Philippine National Police have killed several thousand suspects in so-called legitimate encounters. While this has engendered much media attention and scientific research, earlier police violence is still a black-box in many respects. This article provides at least a partial filling of this void. It establishes several indicators for measuring lethal police violence. Moreover, it presents a detailed mapping of regional and sub-regional patterns of armed police encounters for the decade from 2006 to 2015. The spatial and temporal comparisons show that even though actual levels of deadly police violence have been quite low in several Philippine provinces and cities, the Philippine National Police almost always shot to kill suspects and not to incapacitate them. While there was significant variation over time and between sub-national units, neither the magnitude nor the levels of lethality of the violence are related to the threat levels to which the police officers were exposed.

This paper, “ Abolishing Illiteracy and Upgrading Culture: Adult Education and Revolutionary Hegemony in Socialist Laos” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2018.1470251), is by Simon Creak of the Humanities & Social Studies Education at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

This article examines the monopolisation of political space by the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, before and after 1975. Together with coercive measures, the Marxist-Leninist regime consolidated rule by establishing and disseminating new concepts of state power, social responsibility and socialist subjectivity, which formed the basis of a radical form of revolutionary hegemony. The Party propagated a new rhetoric of rule through mandated activities including village meetings, co-operatives and a much expanded but poor-quality mass education system. This article examines the system of adult education, where the Party sought to eradicate illiteracy and “upgrade culture” among economically productive 15 to 45-year-olds. Motivated by both politics and pedagogy, the Party imported this system from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the 1960s before institutionalising it after 1975. The resulting organisational structure fanned the rhetoric of rule across the national territory in an extensive manner that reached the illiterate “masses” in large numbers. Even where the programme encountered material shortages and apathy, mandated participation in adult education propagated the vocabulary and grammatical structure of socialist Laos, providing a codebook for how to participate in socialist society.

The nation-building project of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic has been challenged by the task of uniting the multi-ethnic country under its political ideology. The Lao National Radio broadcasts in the Khmu and Hmong languages are the only official voice of minority languages and provide insights on how political messages are sent to the population. In their creation of programming material, the broadcasters must translate the socialist ideology of the Communist Party into language that is politically correct and culturally acceptable. In the process, they are creating a political register in the two languages that is heavily influenced by the linguistic structures of Lao. This article examines these two broadcasts to see how language use at the radio effects the message that is delivered to the listeners, enhancing the calls for mobilisation by teaching the people a new political language reflected not only in terms of lexicon, but also in the syntax and phonology of their translations. The result is a way of speaking that crosses ethno-linguistic boundaries to reinforce the control of the state.

“ The Afterlives of Post-War Japanese Prime Ministers” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2018.1460389) is a new article at JCA, authored by Hugo Dobson of the School of East Asian Studies, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK and Caroline Rose of the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.

Despite growing interest over the last 20 years in the position and power of the Japanese prime minister, what he does after resigning from this position has been overlooked in the extant literatures in both English and Japanese. This is unfortunate because, to paraphrase former US President Bill Clinton, as an ex-leader “you lose your power but not your influence.” This article represents the first attempt to explore what post-war Japanese prime ministers have done after stepping down and what influence they have continued to exert. It does so by providing an empirical overview of the afterlives of Japan’s 33 post-war ex-prime ministers before then discussing the benefits and shortcomings of applying the comparative, conceptual literature on the role of former leaders in Western democracies to the specific case of Japan. After providing the necessary justification, it then focuses on three detailed and illuminating case studies of Nakasone Yasuhiro, Murayama Tomiichi and Fukuda Yasuo. It argues that Japanese prime ministers continue to exert influence in several informal ways.