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.
AbstractThe term "unrecognized states" refers to entities that have declared independence but lack international recognition while operating independently from their legal parent state. In recent years, with Russia's invasions of Georgia and Ukraine, unrecognized states and similar entities have emerged, drawing attention to their roles. Many of these existing entities conduct competitive elections, with some even experiencing change of government through elections. However, most of them rely on support from authoritarian states and face severe economic and societal conditions that hinder democratization. Consequently, some studies suggest the existence of unique factors influencing democratization in unrecognized states. According to measures of democracy, however, not all unrecognized states have fully democratized, as there are variations in the quality of democratization among them. This paper reviews the current political regimes in unrecognized states, along with existing research in the field, and identifies the limitations, while proposing new possibilities for hypotheses.
AbstractThe Myanmar coup leader and ASEAN leaders agreed on the five-point consensus, rates of deaths, detainees, and internally displaced people. However, the number of conflicts between the Myanmar military, ethnic armed groups, and the People’s Defense Force is rising. In addition, some ASEAN leaders have stated that the process of agreement implementation by the Myanmar military is a failure because the military is still trying to prevent humanitarian aid from reaching the people. Therefore, a number of international organizations have raised their voice to assist those in urgent need. More than two years since the agreement, it is time for ASEAN leaders to review the implementation by the military and take meaningful action, respecting the interests of the people of Myanmar.
AbstractThailand’s general election will be held on May 14. It is time for the Thai people to decide whether they want to stay with the pro-military government led by coup maker General Prayut Chan-o-cha or go for a different way. Despite the undemocratic constitution that favors pro-military parties, the recent trends suggest that the two main opposition parties, the Pheu Thai Party and the Move Forward Party, are likely to win by a landslide, which could result in a pro-democracy coalition government. For the Pheu Thai Party, past records and recent polls have proven that the party is invincible as it wins the most parliamentary seats in every general election and is likely to win again in the upcoming election. On the other hand, the popularity of the Move Forward Party and its leader, Pita Limjaroenrat, has skyrocketed thanks to a clear political stance, impressive policies that hope to bring about change, and great performance in policy debates. For these reasons, we could see a new government from the pro-democracy opposition, which would save Thailand from the legacy of the military regime.
AbstractOn July 31, 2023, Diplomacy published a paper by Professor Nobumasa Akiyama, dean of the School of International and Public Policy, titled "New Phases of Nuclear Arms Control and Disarmament." This paper examines the analysis of the components of a new structural calculation for arms control regimes necessary for inter-state disarmament and discusses methods to establish a foundation for nuclear disarmament as a consequence. Professor Akiyama pointed out that the objectives of relevant countries and the principles that sustained the arms control regime constructed during the Cold War era are no longer functioning sufficiently. As a cause, he argued that a minimal alignment of views among the parties involved in the arms control regime's political relationships, specifically, a divergence in views regarding guardrails, has emerged. Furthermore, he explained that the rise of China has increased the complexity of rebuilding arms control regimes due to China's technical and quantitative arms expansion and the opacity of its strategic capabilities related to armaments. In light of these issues, Professor Akiyama stated the necessity for integrated arms control to resolve differences in fundamental views on inter-state nuclear policies and to manage crises by combining diplomacy and economics.
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.
AbstractIn July 2023, Jichikenkyu published a case note by Professor Yumiko Nakanishi at the Graduate School of Law titled "The principle of ne bis in idem and mutual trust in the European Union." This case note deals with the Kowwowski case (C-486/14), which was decided in 2016. The case concerned the application of the principle of ne bis in idem, which is seen as one of the key principles in criminal law. The principle of ne bis in idem is also found in Japanese law, but in the EU, it is applied not to a single country but to all EU member states. The Court of Justice of the European Union has struck a balance between the principle of ne bis in idem and mutual trust.
AbstractOn June 22, 2023, the 21st Century Public Policy Institute published a paper by Professor Yumiko Nakanishi at the Graduate School of Law titled "EU and the New Capitalism/Democracy." This report examines the problems inherent to the neoliberal capitalist and democratic systems, which prioritize economic growth. It suggests an update on the role of capitalism and democracy in the EU. Professor Nakanishi takes charge of the "GX and the New Capitalism" sections and "Sustainability and Future Generations in the EU." In the "GX and the New Capitalism" section, the professor explains the concept of a circular economy, presenting a long-term vision for the desired state of society and its implementation. In addition, climate litigation that holds corporations accountable, particularly driven by the youth, was raised as one major phenomenon. In the section on "Sustainability and Future Generations in the EU," Professor Nakanishi mentions that the presence of documents that consider future generations is increasing, and some of them include binding provisions.
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.
AbstractIn May 2023, Josuikaikaiho published a summary of the lecture by Yumiko Nakanishi, Professor at the Graduate School of Law, titled "Human Rights and environmental due diligence in the European Union." The lecture explained the measures taken by the European Unioin (EU) and the role of businesses and society regarding environmental protection and respect for human rights. Professor Nakanishi provided an overview of the EU's adoption of action plans, documents for the steady implementation of environmental and human rights initiatives, and laws that impose legal obligations on member states. She also mentioned mechanisms to ensure compliance with established laws by businesses and highlighted how NGOs and citizens are initiating lawsuits against countries. Professor Nakanishi emphasized that consumers and investors are responsible for human rights and environmental protection and must act with the future generation in mind.
AbstractOn April 28, 2023, Asia Democracy Research Network published a paper by Professor Maiko Ichihara at the Graduate School of Law, titled "Japan's Gradual Move to Address Technological Challenges to Democracy." Digital technology is not necessarily always beneficial to democracy, and this paper examines recent Japan's efforts to address this issue. Professor Ichihara pointed out that the advancement of technology has led to problems such as citizen mistrust, infringement of personal data protection, and facilitation of government repression. She explained that the Japanese government is taking measures such as export regulations, initiatives for human rights, and establishing a position to counter misinformation and regulations on Huawei. Lastly, Professor Ichihara argued that a new narrative capable of countering misinformation is necessary. She concluded that Japan must first identify the strategies of authoritarian actors and then create and disseminate proactive narratives.
Development of Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) between Japan and EU: Focus on Environmental and Energy Issues [in Japanese]
AbstractIn March 2023, the Japan Energy Law Institute published a paper by Professor Yumiko Nakanishi at the Graduate School of Law titled "Development of Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) between Japan and EU: Focus on Environmental and Energy Issues." This report examines the significance and prospects of the two agreements concluded between Japan and the EU - the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA). The agreements discuss topics such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and the conflict in Ukraine. Professor Nakanishi explained that the EPA is a sign of cooperation, promoting energy efficiency and fighting climate change. Also, she mentioned some provisions that establish a legal framework and provide roles and legal binding in the SPA related to climate change and the conflict in Ukraine. Finally, Professor Nakanishi concluded that there had been concrete and substantive discussions on implementing both agreements in the recent Japan-EU Summit Meetings. In other words, these meetings symbolize a fundamental cooperative framework to address the most pressing energy-related issues.
(My Perspective) Significance of the Hiroshima Vision: Embracing Leaders, the Power of the Atomic-Bombed City [in Japanese]
AbstractOn June 2, 2023, Asahi Shimbun published an article by Professor Nobumasa Akiyama, Dean of the School of International and Public Policy, Hitotsubashi University, titled "(My Perspective) Significance of the Hiroshima Vision: Embracing Leaders, the Power of the Atomic-Bombed City.” In this article, the significance of the G7 Summit in the context of nuclear disarmament was discussed. Professor Akiyama analyzed the G7 Hiroshima Summit from the nuclear disarmament perspective, focusing on norms and responsibilities. He explained that the joint statement by the G7 members opposing nuclear war reaffirms the importance of the norm of non-use of nuclear weapons, which has been always upheld in the postwar era. Moreover, he argued that political leaders have the responsibility to protect national security and achieve a "world without nuclear weapons." Lastly, Professor Akiyama suggested that immediate policy changes following the Hiroshima Summit are improbable. However, the awareness of norms and responsibilities should eventually become a significant force for change.