Activity Report (1999) Part 1 I. Intellectual Exchange


Asia Leadership Fellow Program
September 1 - October 31, 1999, Tokyo, Japan

¥ 19,884,155
Initiated in 1996 as a joint undertaking of the International House of Japan and the Japan Foundation Asia Center, this program is designed to promote mutual understanding and cooperation and to create a close human network among intellectual leaders from the Asian region by providing fellowships in the form of an invitation to Japan for up to three months to five or six selected specialists. During their visit, the fellows participate in joint research consisting of seminars and workshops on the comprehensive theme, while staying at the International House of Japan. This year, six intellectuals from Indonesia, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Japan and the Philippines collaborated on the main theme of "Global Challenge, Local Response: Asian Experiences and Concerns." The open symposium to report on and discuss the outcome of the themed study was held on October 27, 1999.

Asia-Pacific Youth Forum
November 21 - 29, 1999, Chiang Mai, Thailand

¥ 6,392,519
This was the 8th forum to give young leaders of the Asia-Pacific region an opportunity to spend time together to discuss common issues, to promote mutual understanding, and to expand a network that goes beyond differences in language, religion and values. This year, 21 academics, journalists, NPO and NGO activists and other opinion leaders from political and government-service sections gathered in Chiang Mai, Thailand to have intensive discussions under the theme of "Beyond the crisis: Can youth make a difference?"

Fellowships for Leaders of the Next Generation

¥ 20,323,056
The Asia Center continued to provide fellowships for selected young Japanese researchers in the fields of social science and the humanities, as well as to NGO staffers so that they could learn first hand about the culture and society of other Asian countries through direct visits. This year, eight future leaders were sent out to India, China, Nepal, Indonesia, Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Viet Nam, Malaysia and Mongolia, to respectively conduct the following themed studies:

  1. 1) Possibility and challenge in citizen-led community development to harmonize with their own traditional cultures in India, Nepal and Tibet
  2. 2) "The age of revolution" and Java's village areas: dynamic study of the government-citizen relationship
  3. 3) Study on the use of sign-language by the hearing-impaired in Korea
  4. 4) Field survey on the poor in Thailand's urban areas and study on the NPOs' and NGOs' activities
  5. 5) Socialist reform seen through different eyes: Study on the life history of village residents in Viet Nam
  6. 6) Anthropological study on the "street children" phenomenon in the Philippines
  7. 7) Disadvantaged peoples' lifestyle in ethnically diverse Malaysia: process in the creation of a new environment for the disadvantaged and changes in the community's perception brought through the establishment of community-oriented workplaces
  8. 8) Children and families in Mongolia: "Traditional ethnic education"

Collaborative Research, Seminars and Conference

Issues Concerning the Legal & Tax System for Nonprofit Activities in Asia
September 17 - November 30, 1999, Sendai, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Hiroshima, Japan

¥ 2,425,050
The Asia Center and Japan NPO Center co-hosted open seminars in five major cities in Japan, aiming to promote mutual understanding in Asia through an international comparative study on laws for private non-profit sectors in each country. Legal specialists in NPO sectors and those rich in working experience and knowledge in the field were invited from Thailand, Philippines, China and Korea to join the events. The discussions focused on the process of implementing the Law to Promote Specified Nonprofit Activities (the NPO law) in Japan, the current situation and the influence that Japan's experience could provide to Asia's institutional reforms. Proceedings of the forum were distributed to each country that was involved. A comprehensive report paper on Asia's NPO laws, and a translation of each law are to be published.

Mongolia-Japan Culture Forum: Toward New Cultural Exchange and Cooperation for the 21st
December 9, 1999, Tokyo, Japan

¥ 10,843,681
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1972, Japan and Mongolia have been progressively strengthening their ties. It has been recognized that these ties should be tightened not only in the fields of politics and economics, but also in culture and education. With this objective, the Asia Center and the National Museum of Ethnology co-organized a forum for those in Japan and Mongolia who are engaged in cultural activities and studies so that they could seek in a broad manner the countries' ideal relationships with regard to cultural exchange and cooperation. The one-day forum focused on such topics as conserving of the cultural assets of both countries, internationalization of Mongolian studies, and preservation and utilization of materials on Mongolia in order to promote the study. Following the meeting, a report was published both in Japanese and Mongolian and distributed to the organizations concerned.

Workshop on Intellectual Exchange in East Asia
March 26 - 29, 2000, Tokyo, Japan

¥ 4,469,891
There has been a growing need for Japan, Korea and China to work not only bilaterally, but also trilaterally on various projects to promote intellectual exchange in the region due to the fact that the region has seen in recent years a surging number of intra-regional activities and common issues to be solved. This led the Asia Center to hold a workshop in Japan involving experts from leading intellectual-exchange organizations in Korea and China so that the event will pave the way to advancing multilateral cooperation within East Asia. During the workshop, the participants introduced their activities to each organization and discussed the current status and issues with a view to strengthening ties with their regional counterparts.

Preliminary Study for the Sino-Japanese Scholars' Forum on Asia in the 21st Century
March 11 - 18, 2000, Beijing and Shanghai, China

¥ 768,850
Preliminarily research was undertaken in China with the view of launching a forum on Japan-China relationships. This forum, which is to be held on a regular basis, will serve as a venue to discuss Japan-China issues from a global point of view among Japanese and Chinese specialists in international politics, economics, and Western-and Asian studies, in addition to experts on Chinese and Japanese studies. Prof. Kazuko Moori of Waseda University and Prof.
Satoshi Amako of Aoyama Gakuin University were dispatched to China to meet cooperating organizations and prospective participants so that preliminary details could be discussed.

Support Program for Centers of Asian Studies

Southeast Asian Studies Regional Exchange Program (SEASREP)

¥ 19,720,850
In an effort to promote Southeast Asian studies within Southeast Asia and to establish a network for Southeast Asian scholars, the Asia Center set up this program in 1995 with its co-founder, the Toyota Foundation, providing support to participating universities in the following four forms: fellowship 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. Participants in the program are University of Indonesia, Gadjah Mada University, Thammasat University, Chulalongkong University, University of the Philippines, Ateneo De Manila University, University of Malaya, and National University of Malaysia. The program has two secretariats located in Manila and Tokyo, the former of which issues the biannual publication, "Southeast Asian Studies Bulletin."

Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) (Singapore)
Networking for Success: Asian Experience

¥ 16,131,457
The Institute has continued to work with the Asia Center to provide training for young 10 researchers, administrative officials, journalists, business people and NGO staff-members from the countries that have newly joined ASEAN. Intensive training sessions, which were given at ISEAS in Singapore, and in Bangkok, Thailand, focused on the five study areas of politics, economy, law, environment and society, in order to deal with a wide range of ASEAN topics, such as its goal, meaning, history, structure, functions, issues, and relationship with other leading economies. The program had two Japanese professionals, who gave lectures on the ASEAN-Japan relationship from the perspective of Japanese diplomacy and ODA policy, as well as Japanese methods and traditions in handling commercial issues.

Support Program for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam

Indochina Media Memorial Foundation (Thailand)
IMMF Photojournalism Training Course: Recording Cultural Continuity and Change
March 2000, Chiang Mai, Thailand

¥ 3,081,842
This four-week training course was conducted in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand, in collaboration with the Department of Mass Communications at Chiang Mai University, involving 12 working photojournalists from Cambodia, Laos, Viet Nam, and Thailand. The focus of the program was on cultural tradition and its rapid changes seen in the Chiang Mai area, and assignments covered such topics as development-induced problems (e.g., industrialization, traffic congestion, and air pollution); tourism and its impact; loss of close tribal ties among groups; preservation of traditional crafts; and efforts by local groups to preserve the best of Northern Thai and hill tribe culture. The lectures, given by professionals of the Thomson Foundation, UK, and Chiang Mai University and local NGOs, covered all aspects of basic photography, from digital camera handling to the disciplines of photography in journalism. Following this training, an exhibition of selected works taken during the course was held at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand.

Mekong Region Law Center Foundation (MRLC) (Thailand)
Industrial Property Law, Phase 1: Law on Trademarks and Unfair Competition Prevention Law
October 4 - 8, 1999, Bangkok, Thailand

¥ 2,372,873
Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Viet Nam are among those developing countries which are now members of WTO, and thereby parties to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (the TRIPs agreement). That Membership status, as the countries open the market door and try to attract foreign investment, urgently requires establishing and implementing the laws to secure intellectual property rights. This situation led MRLC to organize a five-day training session on "law on trademarks and unfair competition prevention law." The program invited specialists in industrial property law from Japan and Thailand who delivered lectures to police officers, government officials, judges and lawyers from Asian countries.
Additionally, the participants had the opportunity to have discussions and a simulated court to exercise and deepen the knowledge gained through the training.

ASEAN-Japan Cultural Dialogue

We Asians: Between Past and Future
February 21 - 23, 2000, Singapore

¥ 7,615,597
The Asia Center, the National Activities of Singapore, and the Singapore Heritage Society jointly organized the conference "We Asians: between past and future" to serve as a significant occasion for intellectuals from the region to make, in a thorough and serious manner, a retrospective analysis of the historical legacies of the 20th century, and envisage the promises and prospects of the 21st century. The conference was composed of six sessions: the past as a prologue; war and violence, history and memory; colonialism, communism and nation-state formation; the rise of capitalism in Asia; culture and consciousness; and beginning the 21st century.

Publication of the report: ASEAN-Japan Cultural Dialogue 1999

¥ 3,109,620
Following the success of the 1st ASEAN-Japan Cultural Dialogue "Beyond the Crisis: Reflections
on Cultural Discourse in Asia" (March 1999, Tokyo), a report was published in English on the
presentation and contents of the discussions, and distributed to the organizations concerned.

Intellectual Dialogue on Building Asia's Tomorrow

2nd Intellectual Dialogue on Building Asia's Tomorrow: Sustainable Development and Human Security
July 12 - 13, 1999, Singapor

¥ 1,927,894
The goal of this project is to seek, through strengthened intellectual cooperation in the region, Asia's new strategies for sustainable development that prioritize human security and replace the current strategies with economic growth at the top of the list. Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE) co-launched the project in 1998 with Institute of Southeast Asian Studies to follow the proposal made by the late Mr. Keizo Obuchi, then the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
This year, the forum invited as a keynote lecturer Professor Amartya Sen of the University of Cambridge and laureate of the Nobel Prize for economics. Following the lecture, seven presentation/discussion sessions were undertaken: governance; social safety nets/human security; human resource development; environment; non-governmental organizations; civil society; and sustainable development. The event attracted intellectual leaders, young scholars and researchers from 12 Asian countries, with approximately 50 participants in total.

Support Program for Japan-South Asia Intellectual Exchange

India-Japan Dialogue: Research on Contemporary China
March 8 - 9, 2000, New Delhi, India

¥ 1,251,115
Communication between India and China had historically been extremely limited, and the way India could learn about China was mostly via Western countries in the forms of English documents and media. Japan has recently been drawing India's interest in this regard for its constant efforts to conduct Chinese studies by working closely with USA, Hong Kong and East Asia. Consistent with this trend, India-Japan dialogue has taken place targeting the two countries' specialists in China studies. The objective of the two-day event was to exchange information on the research works Japan has done on contemporary China individually or in cooperation with other Asian countries and the current state of Chinese studies in India, and to discuss the roles that Japan, China and India should play in addressing regional issues. The seminar attracted approximately 70 specialists on India-Japan/India-China relations, local policy makers and other opinion leaders. Prof. Akio Takahara of Rikkyo University and Prof. Ryoosei Kokubun of Keio University participated from Japan in the seminar to deliver keynote lectures.

Okinawa International Forum

Environment and Civilization: Toward a Sustainable Socio-Economic System in the 21st Century
October 25 - 26, 1999, Okinawa, Japan

¥ 13,309,062
Managing the global environment presents vast challenges that require cooperation beyond the borders of nation states. It also requires wisdom and practical collaboration that transcends academic disciplines and social programs. The 1999 Okinawa International Forum focused on socio-economic issues and how they are related to environmental problems; in other words, the question of how to create a sustainable structure of society and economy that would achieve eco-friendly economic growth. At this forum, panelists from the Asia-Pacific region made presentations and took part in discussions on each country's environment issues. The host prefecture, Okinawa, made a proposal on the feasibility of integrating traditional cultures, social value, and systems into a new socio-economic system. A report paper on the forum is available in both Japanese and English, and was distributed to the organizations concerned.

Page Top