Asian Studies Conference Japan

Saturday, June 19 - Sunday 20, 2004
Ichigaya Campus of Sophia University

previous panel

 ASCJ 2004

  next panel


ASCJ Executive Committee
Conference venue
Nearby hotels 

Inaugural conference 
1998 conference
1999 conference
2000 conference
2001 conference 
2002 conference
2003 conference

 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

Session 17: Room 207

Risk Regimes in Northeast Asia

Organizer: Mika Mervio, The University of Shimane

Our panel analyses risks and risk regimes in North East Asia, focusing on different dimensions of international relations, social economy and culture. Globalisation and social changes have irreversibly changed political, economical, social and cultural life in Asia. As a consequence, risks are becoming more diverse and transnational, and societies in North East Asia are increasingly vulnerable given the absence of integrated measures for responding to new dangers. In recent years the limits of the nation-state-centered modernist approach have become quite clear and the model of risk regime offers an alternative for the region
Alam, Chaikin and Mervio will focus primarily on international relations in discussing the distinctive features of risk in globalising Asia. In order to widen the concept of security to include contemporary risk scenarios, new perspectives on human security, ecology and marine regime will be introduced. On the other hand, Davis analyses the culture that constitutes both the risk and the risked in China. In other words, our panel will analyse risks and their different dimensions in Northeast Asia and gives ideas about the possible formation of a risk regime in North East Asia.

1. Mika Mervio, The University of Shimane
Living with Risks in Japan

Japanese society faces a multitude of risks in the fields of politics and international relations, economy, cultural change, social maladies and ecology. Although the public reaction to the existence of these risks varies, risk discourses are still dominated by traditional approaches to national security and the changing scenarios of international power politics. It is striking that, although Japan has carried furthest the processes of modernisation and industrialisation, Japanese people show great reluctance to go beyond the frameworks of nationalism and the nation-state. My paper analyses different types of risk in Japan and considers ways in which different theoretical approaches could be used to bring better understanding of risks and living with risks.

2. Mohammed Badrul Alam, Miyazaki International College
A Case for Confidence-Building Measures in North East Asia: Lessons from South Asia

With the overt declaration of nuclear weapon capability by North Korea, its withdrawal from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and the indifferent progress of the six-nation talks, security in North East Asia has become a matter of utmost concern. While some analysts have proposed a series of benign steps such as restoring greater harmony in US-ROK relations, building a stable coalition, engaging in serious and direct dialogue, developing a short-term proposal to test North Korean intentions and asking China to use its leverage vis-à-vis North Korea, others have advocated a more stringent approach including imposition of strict economic sanctions, initiating series of military steps ranging from blockade and embargo to outright invasion of North Korea. Are any of these approaches likely to succeed either in the short run or in the long run? Is there a real possibility of a severe backlash from a pariah nation such as North Korea? Are there alternative ways of looking at the North Korean situation within the regional and global context? By contrast, in South Asia, where India and Pakistan have acquired nuclear weapon capability and have been on the brink of nuclear crisis more than once, progress will be tested by a series of confidence-building measures the two adversarial states have instituted both at the government and informal levels. Can the same strategy work in the context of North Korea? How will North Korea's neighbors react, and how can each contribute to confidence-building measures? The paper will attempt to provide answers to the above questions in addition to forecasting a probable security scenario for North East Asia.

3. Greg Chaikin, Shimonoseki City University
Maritime Co-operation and Risk in North East Asia

Despite recent international systemic transformation, efforts to develop regional institutions in North-East Asia have met gridlock. Regional recalcitrance to change and cooperation stems from unresolved historical issues, intra-regional multipolarity and differing political-economic trajectories. However, the maritime realm has produced some promising avenues for cooperation and institutional development in fisheries, pollution and maritime transport safety. This paper utilises Ulrich Beck's notion of "risk society" in an analysis of contemporary regional cooperative efforts in maritime North East Asia. The paper asserts that sustainable development of maritime activities requires environment-centred risk assessment by both state and non-state users, thereby enhancing institutional development and security relations.

4. Scot Davis, Miyazaki International College
Risk to and of Culture in China

A superficial conceptualization of risk to a culture separates risk from culture as outside to inside. Complexities arise in case the culture itself constitutes both the risk and the risked. In this sense, risk in culture is a nonlinear process. This paper will review issues seen to be fundamental in Chinese cultural formation and expression, and explore the risks attendant to these fundamental cultural features. It has been argued that the ancestral orientation of the culture is necessary and sufficient to explain the origin of most of its early cultural features. Although this major premise constitutes a field of risks in the present circumstances of China, within its emerging regional and global contexts, eliminating the premise risks doing away with the cultural foundations of Chinese ways of life. This paper will examine some critical linkages between cultural heritage and its philosophical expressions, on the one hand, and issues such as population, civil society, guanxi [English equivalent?] and informal relations on the other. Particular attention will be focused on genealogical efforts in contemporary China and the possibility of establishing transregional ties based on genealogical connections. The paper will also attempt to formulate some ways of conceptualizing risks in Chinese terms and to show how these critical linkages are embodied and experienced. In other words, it aims to show how the domain of risk can be conceptualized and mediated in the logic of Chinese culture.

Discussant: Glenn Hook, The University of Sheffield


return to: top of this page | ASCJ site top page   

previous panel

 ASCJ 2004

  next panel