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ASIAN STUDIES CONFERENCE JAPAN

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Contact the organizers: Asian Studies Conference (ASCJ) c/o Institute of Asian Cultural Studies, International Christian University 3-10-2 Osawa, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo 181





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Summer 2000 ASCJ Conference Details

5.  Individual Paper Session:  Trans-national Economic Trends in the Asia-Pacific Region  (Room 307)

Chair: Junji Shiba, Faculty of International Studies, Meiji Gakuin University

Paper 1)  Neyde Sati Ishioka, University of Tsukuba.  "Japan's Role in the International Political Economy after the Cold War: A Case Study of ODA to Latin America"

     The study analyzes the impact of the end of the Cold War in the Japanese foreign policy in terms of its bilateral ODA in the Fourth Era of International Finance (1985-1998). Despite the characteristic tendency of Japanese bilateral ODA towards Asian countries and North American preoccupation towards Latin America and Caribbean, the issue of development of this region assumes a new relevance after the Cold War. The hypothesis is that there is a convergence of the Japan's and USA's programs in terms of development assistance and international cooperation towards the region, which may be caused by a similar pattern present in Japan's ODA policy towards Asia. There is to say, the estimation of the order of relevance of three different but concomitant levels of causation:  state, society and international system. The theoretical framework applied is the hegemonic stability theory to this period of hegemonic dissociation. Also, the analysis proposed by Prof. David Arase of the association of the Three-into-One economic cooperation formula is used.  The statistical analysis of OECD's DAC (Development Assistance Committee) data as well as the ones of Japanese institutions is made in order to support the main hypothesis.

Paper 2)  Aida Marcia Lissa, University of Tsukuba. "Industrial Restructuring and Regional Division of Labor:  Japanese Electronics production Networks in Southeast Asia"

Abstract: This study discusses the industrial restructuring promoted by Japanese transnational corporations (TNCs), through the analysis of some linkages between international production and international trade. Production networks are analyzed as one of the instruments by which TNCs have been influencing the international allocation of economic activity, generating a complementarity between global and regional trends.

        The main hypothesis tested is the extent to which production and flows of investment and trade by Japanese transnational networks are creating an intra-regional division of labor. For tackling such idea, an analysis of production networks set up by Japanese electronics firms in Southeast Asia is conducted focusing on sourcing and procurement patterns.

        Such an attempt shows indeed that the process of internationalization of Japanese firms goes beyond international production to encompass a more integrated pattern of production. Redesigning trade relations in Asia, Japanese production networks helped to generate a more horizontal division of labor, characterized by growing volumes of intra-industry and intra-firm trade conducted between Japanese TNCs and related companies within the region. Following a pattern of strong supply linkages, restructuring of electronics firms is promoting intra-product, inter-product and inter-process division of labor.

Paper 3)  Mauricio Lorence, Sacred Heart University (USA). "The Japanese Immigration to Brazil and its Contributions to Agribusiness in Brazil"

     Japanese immigration to Brazil must be viewed within the context of the Japanese capitalist development at the  of the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the twentieth century. This process also had to do with the transformation of rural labor, the introduction of agricultural industry, and the need for the expansion of production in the rural areas of Sao Paulo. Changes were also taking place in Japan as well.

   In the Tokugawa era, Japan was isolated for the outside world considered undesirable for Japanese society. At the time, Japan was an agrarian society in which both the warlords and the samurai had lost control over the economy. When, in 1868, Japan was forced to open its doors, a whole new era began called the Meiji era and it lasted until 1912. As the Meiji era began, many samurai were no longer employable in a newly modernized society and the government could not find a viable niche for them in it renovated social structure. Given these circumstances, a group of Japanese diplomats and business cooperatives met in 1893 in Brazil to discuss sending Japanese labor there. At the time, Brazil was desperately in need of dedicated and skilled laborers who were willing to work and Japan was equally desirous of solving "the samurai problem," a population which met all the criteria required by the Brazilians. From that time on, Japanese immigration to Brazil expanded.

    Japanese immigration and investments were focused on the State of Sao Paulo because it had immense tracts of land that needed to be populated, explored and exploited. The Japanese provided both the people and the necessary labor for this undertaking and Sao Paulo became a major producer of coffee, Brazilfs major national product.

   Another important factor in the need for Japanese lay in the fact that many of the European works who provided labor earlier chose to return to their countries of origin or move on to Argentina. Faced with an ever increasing void in their working forces, the landowners turned to the Orient to fill this vacancy.

   To do so in 1891, however, the landowners were obliged to put pressure on the Brazilian government in order to circumvent the numerous laws then existing regulating access to Brazil by Asians and to reach an agreement permitting the introduction of Japanese workers in the state. There were successful and, on November 6, 1907, Jorge Tiberica, President of the State of Sao Paulo and Rio Medzuno, President of the Empire Emigration Company, presented a signed agreement to the Secretary of Agriculture, Carlos J. Botelho.

    Other factors that pushed the Japanese to immigrate to Brazil were rooted in the Japanese economy. The K.K.K.K., a Japanese company dealing with Japanese laborers destined for Brazil as of 1920 monopolized emigration to Latin America. In 1924, they were subsidized by the Japanese government, and were entrusted with the emigration of Japanese workers to Brazil. In effect, they embodied the voice of the Japanese government in Brazil.

    Most important of all to the planned colonization of Brazil was the establishment of a maritime treaty in 1927 to push for more immigration. It was the same year as the formation of the Tokyo Maritime Association, which had a branch office in Sao Paulo called the Society of Colonization in Brazil (Yugen Sekinin Buraziru Takushoku, commonly known by its acronym, BRATAC. It was a dual-purpose corporation and its capital was used solely for real estate and the recruitment and guidance of Japanese emigrants to work as farmers.

   By 1935, Brazil became Japanfs principal trading partner. By extension, because whatever was produced in Brazil was destined for Japanese markets, Brazil was transformed into Japanfs mail outlet for its investments. Japanfs contribution to the development and growth of Brazilfs coffee business can be observed plainly in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo.

Paper 4)  Yasuba Yasukichi, Osaka Gakuin University. "Assessing the Economic Growth of the Asian NIEs, 1966-1997"  

   In an article published in Foreign Affairs in 1994, Paul Krugman suggested that rapid economic growth in the Asian NIEs, being based almost totally on the growth of the input of capital and labor, cannot be sustained for long and that they will never catch up with the West in the foreseeable future.  This paper examines in non-technical ways Krugman's appraisal and prediction. It finds that Krugman's appraisal was almost entirely wrong and that his prediction was already contradicted by history.

    Krugman s appraisal was wrong because he chose to downgrade Asian technical progress comparing it with the American one estimated by Robert Solow, based on the quality-unadjusted input of capital and labor. If the Asian performance is compared with Christensen-Jorgenson estimate with quality adjustment, its technical progress will be found to have been much faster than in the United States.

    Krugman's evaluation of the Asian growth as "the miracle based upon perspiration" (greater input of labor) and the result of the present satisfaction (high saving-rate) can neither be accepted. The former should be rejected because the greater input of labor was achieved mainly by the change in the age-composition of the population rather than by harder labor. No sacrifice in present satisfaction was made since consumption was allowed to grow all the time much faster than in the United States.  These favorable factors continued into the 1990s, letting Singapore overtake the United States by 1997 as the world's highest income country, with long Kong following closely behind.

Paper 5)  Byung-ok Kil and Richard Robyn, Kent State University. "Lessons of European Integration for the Asia-Pacific Economic Area: A Leadership Role of Japan"

     The idea of Asian-Pacific economic integration has evolved in a piecemeal  fashion from an informal sub-regional effort to a multilateral official  forum. Compared with the European Union (EU), however, the Asia-Pacific  Economic Cooperation (APEC) is still weakly institutionalized. Optimists who  support APEC agree on the general idea of economic integration, but not on the means. Pessimists may conclude that further Asian integration is not  likely due to the lack of commonalties such as language or culture. To  examine these perspectives, we employ a social constructivist approach to  show how arguments that essentialize a so-called "lack of a common culture"  are in fact employed without merit to cast doubt on integration efforts. In  doing so, we assess the changing nature and the evolutionary process of  regional economic integration in the Asia-Pacific, focusing in part on the  problem of a lack of a meaningful leadership role on the part of Japan. A  closer look at the EU, arguably the clearest example of successful economic  and political integration in the world at the present time, would suggest  then two significant lessons for APEC: 1) the need for a strong leadership  role such as that currently played by France and Germany and 2) that arguments centering on the so-called "lack of common characteristics" in fact  may simply mask the powerful trends toward a common identity that are shaping  global politics and economics.

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