Your Monday Briefing

Japan’s new leader, North Korea, Afghan talks: Here’s what you need to know.

By Carole Landry

Good morning.

We’re covering the choice of a new prime minister in Japan, a modern propaganda campaign in North Korea and the lives of Kamala Harris’s immigrant parents.

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.”

We have the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

In South Korea, officials said on Sunday that social distancing measures would be eased in Seoul for the next two weeks, even though daily new cases remain in the triple digits.

In Melbourne, Australia, protesters clashed with the police on Sunday on the second day of demonstrations against lockdown restrictions.

An ultra-Orthodox member of Israel’s government resigned on Sunday over a nationwide lockdown set to come into effect on Friday, the eve of the Jewish New Year holiday. He was furious that the lockdown would coincide with Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur and that prayers would be allowed in synagogues only in limited numbers.

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.

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