The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 18 October 2018

Diplomacy

Image: Getty Images

Man with a plan

Japan’s PM has negotiated the tricky task of supporting one of his country’s most controversial shrines without upsetting the neighbours.

Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo is never far from controversy. Nearly 2.5 million war dead – among them 1,068 convicted war criminals – are honoured at the Shinto shrine, which has long been a source of tension between Japan and its neighbours China and South Korea. Japan’s Emperor Akihito, 84, has never visited and prime minister Shinzo Abe hasn’t been there since December 2013. The head priest had to resign last week after he criticised the Emperor for distancing himself from the shrine. Abe is currently on tour in Europe but still sent a traditional masakaki offering yesterday at the start of the shrine’s four-day autumn festival. It’s a strategic move that sends a message of support for Yasukuni while avoiding unnecessary upset ahead of Abe’s three-day visit to China on 25 October when he’ll discuss bilateral relations with president Xi Jinping.

F&B

Image: Getty Images

Hop to it

Keeping Bavarian beer halls ticking over is all well and good but how about giving young food entrepreneurs a boost as well?

It’s likely that the election result at the weekend has left Bavaria’s Christian Social Union party in need of a stiff drink – it suffered its worst showing since 1950. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why it is intent on preserving the region’s traditional beer halls and restaurants. Beer halls are suitable venues to drown political sorrows, of course, and they remain hubs of both Bavarian identity and social life; and €35m of financial support has been poured into them to make sure they don’t go down the pan. But keeping beer halls on government-funded life support isn’t feasible long-term. Instead, the government might consider offering incentives to young F&B entrepreneurs who are looking for a simpler life outside of Germany’s main cities.

Aviation

Gives you wings

After a poor few years, the US aviation industry finally has lift-off after a Republican tax law helped create a new jet set.

High-flyers will be taking off from Orlando with lighter pockets after today, the final day of the National Business Aviation Association’s Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition. After years of lagging sales, this trade show has marked a return to form for the industry. Embraer launched two long-range business jets as part of the Brazilian company’s turnaround push and, with more new planes entering the market, 2019 is expected to see a noticeable uptick in jet deliveries. The Phoenix-based manufacturer Honeywell Aerospace predicts that about $251bn worth of business jets will be sold over the coming decade. The reason? The Republicans’ 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which has created a friendlier US market for jet ownership.

Design

Image: Frederik Vercruysse

Scene stealer

The pieces on show at Belgium’s Biennale Interieur are enhanced by the event’s desire to beautify its surroundings.

Today design aficionados arrive in the small Belgian city of Kortrijk for the 50th Biennale Interieur. Often viewed as the more sedate – and manageable – counterpart to Milan’s ever-expanding Salone del Mobile, Interieur is a vital litmus test for where the design industry is heading. Here the name of the game is uncovering emerging talent and craftspeople, rather than negotiating expansive booths. The other differential is that (in the spirit of Belgium’s refined design mentality) great emphasis is placed on commissioning beautiful scenography across the event, which goes well beyond the drab trade-fair stylings that mark many such shows. Other fair organisers should take a page from Biennale Interieur’s book and add an extra level of enticement to their events.

From Monocle 24

Uncle

The Entrepreneurs

Cities are becoming more desirable places to live but renting a flat is still a stressful experience. Ryan Prince, co-founder of Uncle, has set out to change all that. His property-management service (which he co-founded with his father) has found success by regarding its tenants as customers. The company, owned by Canadian property developer Realstar, now has three properties in London and a building in central Manchester.

From Monocle Films

Munich: the best of everything

We take lessons in liveability from the winner of this year’s Monocle Quality of Life survey. Join us for a tour of the Bavarian capital, where we cover everything from improved infrastructure to new clubs.

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