Activity Report (1998) Part 1 I. Intellectual Exchange

Japan-India Seminar after the Test Explosions of Nuclear Bombs

¥611,415
The test explosion of nuclear bombs by India in May 1998 caused an uproar from the Japanese public. The Japanese government responded with categorical denouncements of the tests as well as the imposition of economic sanctions, which ignited strong reactions from India. With this as a backdrop, this seminar aimed at trying to help reconstruct India-Japan relations. The seminar provided scholars, policy makers and journalists from both countries a venue to discuss such issues as: to what extent a nuclear device can enhance the security of a nation; what political factors in India invoked the test explosions; what was international relations in South Asia like after the test; what was India's reaction to the economic sanctions; and also what issues could be resolved between Japan and India. The Asia Center dispatched Prof. Kiichi Fujiwara of University of Tokyo to New Delhi and he delivered a keynote speech on "The limited Utility of Deterrence in Regional Conflicts," which set off the active interaction among participants.


Asia Leadership Fellow Program

¥ 27,313,206
The Asia Leadership Fellow Program, started in 1996 by the International House of Japan and The Asia Center, is a fellowship to be awarded annually to selected intellectuals from Asian countries. The fellows spend from two to six months in Japan for research and exchange activities and for a collaborative work on a subject pertinent to the region. The program aims at the promotion of mutual understanding and the creation of a close personal network among such intellectuals, as well as with their counterparts in Japan. During the first two months, the 1998 Fellows worked on the broad theme of "Development and Culture" and the reflections on their intellectual experiences in Japan. Comments on their two-month collaborative work were later presented at a public symposim (October 28, 1998, Tokyo) under the theme of "Asia in Transition: Localizing Strategies; Globalizing Processes." Their discussions included the topics: the meaning of development and localizing strategies; multiculturalism; globalization, transnational migration; nation-state and transnational capitalism: (Asian) tradition and modernity; the concepts of identity and difference; and the current crisis in Southeast Asia.


Fellowships for Leaders of the Next Generation

¥ 16,866,364
The Asia Center continued to provide fellowships to selected young Japanese researchers in the fields of social science and the humanities and to NGO staff-persons to enable them to learn
first-hand about the culture and society of other Asian countries through visits of six months to one year. This year, eight university-based scholars used the award to travel to India, Indonesia, Korea, Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia, and one staff-person of a Japanese non-profit organization visited India. Amongst their research agenda included significance of traditions and performing arts in India, strategies for environmental protection by NGOs in Indonesia and Philippines, modern literature in Korea, literature and arts during the Doimoi period in Vietnam.


Preparatory Meeting for the 3rd Conference of Asian Foundations and Organizations

¥ 1,766,380
Conference of Asian Foundations and Organizations is a network to provide a venue for an exchange of views among program officers of Asian grant-making foundations and non-profit organizations. This year, country coordinators and selected members of the Network met in Jakarta for a preparatory meeting for the network's third conference, hosted by Friends of the Environment Fund, Indonesia. The objectives were to discuss and revise a draft working paper on the network's organizational structure, to assess the status of thematic group projects, and to firm up plans for the third conference.


Southeast Asian Studies Regional Exchange Program (SEASREP)

¥ 20,000,507
In an effort to develop studies of Southeast Asia by scholars from Southeast Asia, this program, co-funded with the Toyota Foundation, provided support in four areas. The areas covered were fellowships for language training; exchange of professors for short-term visiting lectureships at Southeast Asian universities; Master's-and Ph. D.-level fellowships for study and research; and collaborative regional research. This program was developed by four leading scholars from Southeast Asia who sit on the SEASREP council. The council meets regularly and has produced a ten-year development plan for Southeast Asian studies in the region. Participating in the program include the University of the Philippines, University of Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Thammasat University, University of Indonesia, Gadjah Mada University, Chulalongkong University, and Ateneo De Manila University. The program has two secretariats, in Manila and Tokyo. The Manila secretariat publishes a biannual Southeast Asian Studies Bulletin. The Asia Center funds cover partial costs of the infrastructure and administration of the program as well as of fellowships and research awards.


Support Program for Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam: Workshop on Macro-Micro Economics and Economic Development

¥ 1,770,288
In Laos, legal, academic, diplomatic and economic infrastructures remain comparatively weak in the ASEAN regional grouping due to the nature of their economies. This year, the Asia Center dispatched a Japanese expert, Prof. Motoyoshi Suzuki of Mie University to provide a workshop on "Macro-Micro Economics and Economic Development" at the International Relations Training Center of the Institute of Foreign Affairs in Vientian. 23 officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government agencies took part in the workshop.
Concurrently, Prof. Suzuki carried out research on the infrastructure of support programs in Laos including a human resource development program, activities by cultural organizations, and support programs implemented by foreign countries. The outcome of the research was reported at a seminar held at the Asia Center in January 1999.


Support Program for Centers of Asian Studies:

1. Center of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong, China)
Studies on Drastic Changes in China and their Influences towards Asian Countries

¥ 2,520,000
The Asia Center supported for the last three years the joint project conducted by the Hong Kong-based Center of Asian Studies and the Institute of Oriental Culture, Tokyo University to study structural changes in the politics, economics, and culture of China, with a focus on the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997. The research looked at the impact of such changes on other Asian countries. This year, the Asia Center dispatched Prof. Daniel Christian of the Institute for the Study of Language and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, to evaluate ten sub-project activities that were carried out in the last three years.


2. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) (Singapore)
Networking for Success: ASEAN Experience 1998

¥ 21,673,055
The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) continued to provide training on economic and social development policy and on the foreign policy of ASEAN to young researchers, administrative officials and journalists from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam which had newly joined or would be joining the regional grouping. A Japanese scholar was dispatched to ISEAS to lecture on ASEAN-Japan relations from the perspective of Japanese diplomacy. The group also visited Bangkok to exchange views with journalists and research institutes concerned.

ASEAN-Japan Multinational Cultural Mission:


1. Concluding Meeting

¥ 13,298,703
The ASEAN-Japan Multinational Cultural Mission, composed of governmental and private sector representatives from ASEAN countries and Japan, held its concluding meeting in Tokyo and Nikko to elaborate the Action Agenda Part I adopted in 1997 comprising the objectives, general policy orientations, and priority areas for cultural exchange and cooperation. At the meeting, the Mission adopted Part II of the Action Agenda, consisting of specific projects, programs and other relevant proposals to be implemented to further cultural exchange and cooperation among the ASEAN countries.


2. Publication of a Report on International Cultural Exchange and Cultural Cooperation between ASEAN and Japan

¥ 409,500
In fiscal year 97, the Asia Center commissioned the Study Group on International Cultural Relations, represented by Prof. Kenichiro Hirano of the University of Tokyo, to investigate activities in cultural exchange and cooperation undertaken by Japan oriented primarily to the ASEAN countries in the last 50 years. The findings were published as "International Cultural Exchange and Cultural Cooperation between ASEAN and Japan: Historical Development and Present Situation" in English and it served as a reference point for the ASEAN-Japan Multinational Cultural Mission, described elsewhere in this report. In the current fiscal year, the report was translated into Japanese for a wider distribution to the organizations concerned.


3. ASEAN-Japan Cultural Dialogue "Beyond the Crisis: Reflections on Cultural Discourse in Asia"

¥ 7,322,498
The waves of economic globalization are rapidly affecting cultural interdependence among Japan and ASEAN countries while the concerns of the region's people over intrinsic values may have been heightened all the more. With this as a backdrop, the Asia Center organized the ASEAN-Japan Cultural Dialogue with the theme "Beyond the Crisis: Reflections on Cultural Discourse in Asia." This event was organized in close collaboration with many partners in the region to explore how Asian culture is being transformed, how cultural and historical contexts are being reinterpreted, and to plan for future intellectual and cultural dialogues. Sixteen prominent intellectuals including scholars and artists were invited. This forum is a follow-up to the ASEAN-Japan Multinational Cultural Mission ("MCM") carried out in 1997-1998 which aims to promote cultural exchange and cooperation among Japan and the ASEAN region.


Okinawa International Forum:

1. Globalization and Asian Civilizations: Implications of Asian Economic Crisis

¥ 9,975,000
The Asian currency and economic crisis broke out in an atmosphere of increasing integration and globalization of economic activities worldwide. The crisis has prompted a reevaluation of the doctrines of "Asian-style capitalism" and "Asian values" which were put forth against the background of rapid economic growth in the region. Under these circumstances, the objective of this forum was to provide an opportunity for discussion that goes beyond the level of relative merits of different economic systems and considers the various influences exerted by globalization in the economic sphere. At the same time, the forum served as an occasion for reconfirming all that Okinawa and its history can contribute to such efforts.


2. Publication of a Report on the Okinawa Symposium'97

¥ 1,155,140
In fiscal year 1997, the Asia Center and Okinawa's Prefectural Government jointly organized an international symposium, "Okinawa as a Crossroads: Global Intellectual and Cultural Collaboration in the 21st Century." This symposium was used to examine how Okinawa could contribute to solving regional problems and issues associated with the environment and changes in traditional societies caused by rapid economic development. In the current fiscal year, the Asia Center's funds were used to publish a report on the presentation and contents of the discussions.

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