AbstractThe López Obrador administration in Mexico embarked on a major electoral reform effort from 2022 to 2023, amending electoral laws significantly. The reforms included provisions related to the election to electoral positions by voters, a reduction in the number of personnel involved in electoral affairs, limitations on types of violations related to electoral campaigning, and a reduction in penalties for electoral violations. All of these changes were seen as posing a threat to the fundamental principles of democracy, specifically the "fairness and impartiality" of elections. However, in May and June of 2023, the Supreme Court of the Justice of the Nation declared the reforms invalid through constitutional review. This ruling demonstrated the judiciary's role in curbing arbitrary exercise of power, indicating that the separation of powers in Mexico is currently functioning.
AbstractDoes virtual reality (VR) possess beneficial qualities as opposed to traditional media? This study examines the effects of viewing a documentary about refugees as an empathy – inducing stimulus and compares the strength of the effects based on the medium used: VR versus a computer screen. An experiment conducted as part of this research could not find evidence that VR is more effective at eliciting empathy for “imagine-other” perspective-taking tasks. On the other hand, the type of perspective-taking itself may be a significant factor. The discussion section synthesizes the experimental results with a critique of VR experiences in international relations contexts from a critical culture studies perspective and highlights how VR experiences are shaped and limited by the power structures within which they are produced.
AbstractSmart cities are geopolitical battlegrounds composed of technologies in which the U.S. and China are competing for supremacy. Chinese smart cities are governance systems that prioritize safety, whereas those of American companies are business systems that advocate improving quality of life, optimizing urban functions, and reducing operating costs. Chinese smart city projects are often integrated with economic and informatization support, and are deeply tied to China economically and politically. Authoritarian countries and weakened democracies are seeking Chinese smart cities as political instability increases, and the number of these cities is growing as a result of this increase. There are 144 such projects underway worldwide, and the vast amount of data and networks accumulated could give China a strategic advantage. Smart cities have become geopolitical battlegrounds for supremacy, but the West has been outnumbered.
AbstractSince the last general election (GE15) in November 2022, the political landscape in Malaysia has shifted significantly, especially concerning the formation of new political alliances such as the Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional (PHBN) coalition. Dubbed the “unity government,” the alliance led by Anwar Ibrahim however did not gain solid support from Malay voters. The result of the Malaysian State Election held in August 2023 further affirmed this scenario when PHBN suffered a moral defeat to the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition. It remains to be seen whether the government will become more conservative to appease Malay voters.
AbstractCurrently, criticism of disinformation measures is spreading, centering on the United States House Judiciary Committee and involving right-wing media, organizations, and critics. Requests for information, congressional subpoenas, and charges have been filed against think tanks, universities, and other research institutions, as well as individual experts. The claim is that the U.S. government, either directly or through research institutions, has been suppressing conservative speech by censoring social media platforms. On July 4, 2023, a federal district court recognized government censorship and ordered a ban on contact between the government and related agencies and social networking platforms and research institutions. The court ordered that the government and related agencies be prohibited from contacting social media platforms and research institutes. Although the order was immediately stayed and an appeal is underway, the series of events has led some social media platforms and researchers to become more cautious in their efforts to combat disinformation. This problem can be attributed to a failure to follow the basic principle that disinformation is more often carried out by domestic actors and that countermeasures must also prioritize domestic approaches.
The Rise of ESG Investment and Its Controversial Reception in the United States: Implications for Global Governance
AbstractSince the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, Environment, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) investment has gained popularity. It has attracted attention from various stakeholders, including those with a social mission of realizing a sustainable society, and also risk-sensitive investors, as well as academia. However, there is a growing anti-ESG movement in the United States, with Republican lawmakers attempting to impede ESG-related financial risk management and hinder the growth of ESG investment. This article aims to explore the background and rationale behind this conflict surrounding ESG investment in the United States and its implications for global governance.
Problems with Hong Kongers’ “Nationality” in Residency Registration and Renewal of Hong Kong SAR Passport in Japan
AbstractHong Kongers living in Japan face unique challenges when it comes to residency registration and passport renewal. The confusion surrounding their nationality status, particularly the use of "China" instead of "Hong Kong" in official documents, creates practical difficulties and safety concerns for Hong Kongers in Japan. This paper highlights the legal and political differences between Hong Kong and China, the unique visa arrangements and exemptions enjoyed by Hong Kong SAR passport holders, as well as the implications of the Hong Kong National Security Law for Hong Kongers living in Japan. Without asking for special treatment, it is nonetheless important to consider the human rights of Hong Kongers and to provide better assistance, support, and protection for this community at risk.
AbstractOn July 31, 2023, Diplomacy published a paper by Professor Maiko Ichihara, Professor at Graduate School of Law, titled " US Trembles over China and Russia’s Election Meddling ." This paper analyzes the 2022 U.S. midterm elections as a case study for analyzing China's and Russia's election intervention. Professor Ichihara noted that both Russia and China engage in influence operations, including spreading misinformation to divide American society. The 2022 midterm elections marked China's shift towards intervention, joining Russia. Professor Ichihara also argued that while there are movements in the U.S.across the civil society, legislature, and judiciary toward countermeasures, but there is also opposition to them, causing turmoil. For future responses, she emphasized private-led disinformation countermeasures, addressing institutional issues fueling domestic divisions, and removing domestic economic disparities.
The Ambiguity of International Cooperation Built by the G7: Proposal for a New Order Image Required from the Media [in Japanese]
AbstractIn July 2023, Shimbunkenkyu published an article by Professor Maiko Ichihara at the Graduate School of Law titled "The Ambiguity of International Cooperation Built by the G7: Proposal for a New Order Image Required from the Media." This article analyzes the achievements and challenges of the G7 Hiroshima Summit by looking at how it was assessed in Japan and abroad. Professor Ichihara argues that at the Hiroshima Summit, it became clear that the G7 aimed to strengthen unity among its members regarding the security order. It also built international cooperation beyond the G7 framework. Next, she explains that the G7 positioned China and Russia as challengers to the international order at the summit, acknowledging their threats. Furthermore, Professor Ichihara pointed out concerns regarding the stance of the Hiroshima Summit towards democracy, emphasizing that it only focuses on maintaining the current order and underestimates domestic factors that weakens democracy. Finally, the professor expresses expectations for the media to contribute to forming an international order upholding human dignity.
AbstractOn June 28, 2023, Global Asia published a paper by Maiko Ichihara, Professor at the Graduate School of Law, Hitotsubashi University, titled "Trans-National Influence Operations and their Impact on Human Rights in Asia." This paper explains the structure and impact of transnational influence operations by authoritarian states, particularly China's manipulation efforts targeting Asian countries. Professor Ichihara noted that Asia is most affected by China's influence operations. In addition, she describes how authoritarian states exploit economic inequalities, political divisions, and citizens' behavioral tendencies through their influence operations. Furthermore, Professor Ichihara argued that influence operations targeting human rights serve the purpose of concealing human rights issues and political instability within authoritarian states. Lastly, Professor Ichihara emphasized the need for advanced research, fact-checking, and counter-narratives as countermeasures against influence operations.