GGR Issue Briefings / Working Papers

Democracy and Human Rights Program

An Analysis of Counter-Narratives to Disinformation about the COVID Vaccine

AuthorRei Kamikawa, Sosei Oi, Tomoya Maeda
DateMay 28, 2024

AbstractThere are growing concerns that one of the contributing factors to the spread of vaccine hesitancy is the dissemination of misinformation on the internet, where unsubstantiated information exchanges take place among individuals often referred to as “naturalists" on social media platforms. To explore potential solutions to the concerns, this paper analyzes the personas targeted by the entities that disseminate disinformation. Subsequently, it examines effective countermeasures for disseminating counter-narratives against disinformation and highlights the concerns and societal considerations in implementing these strategies.

Democracy and Human Rights Program

China’s YouTube Propaganda in Latin America

AuthorHANNIG NUÑEZ Sascha
DateFebruary 13, 2024

AbstractOn February 13, 2024, Sascha Hannig Nuñez, a doctoral student in the Graduate School of Law, authored an article, "China’s YouTube Propaganda in Latin America," which was published in The Diplomat. In this article, Hannig stated that Chinese state media share common objectives and aim to shape public opinion along Beijing's perspective under the guidance of President Xi Jinping. She pointed out that Spanish-language channels operated by the China Media Group, including China Global Television Network (CGTN), Xinhua enespañol, and Hola China (CCTV), adopt different strategies, and their influence on viewers is limited. However, she noted that videos on specific topics attract more attention; for example, those addressing cultural issues or regional crises tend to receive higher viewer engagement.

Democracy and Human Rights Program

Being Connected from Myanmar: “We Are Still Here”

AuthorSulastri
DateApril 30, 2024

Abstract*This paper was written based on an interview conducted on March 8, 2024.

Democracy and Human Rights Program

Challenges in Measures against Digital Influence Operations: Why can’t the EU/US deal with the methods used by China, Russia, and Iran?

AuthorKazuki Ichida
DateApril 15, 2024

AbstractThe digital influence operation measures being undertaken in the EU and the US focus on dealing with disinformation, which in turn includes dealing with foreign interference and major social media platforms. However, the main aim of the CRI (China, Russia, and Iran) operation is to widen the polarization and distrust that already exist within their counterparts, and the use of disinformation and major social media platforms is only one of the ways to do so. The effectiveness of EU and US measures is limited in scope because the CRI can use other options to circumvent them. Since the attacker's goal is to divide the target country and spread distrust, it is essential for the defender to have an overarching understanding of the domestic situation in order to conduct research and to cope with the influence operation. However, surveys and research often involve case studies, and the overall picture is rarely examined, so effective findings are scarce. Current countermeasures, which are symptomatic treatments lacking a holistic picture, tend to fall into alarmism that issues indiscriminate warnings, and as a result, may deepen polarization and distrust. It is important to prioritize the understanding and sharing of the big picture in countermeasures against digital influence operations.

Democracy and Human Rights Program

Reflections of a Myanmar Activist: Navigating Struggles and Fostering Resilience in Japan for the Homeland

AuthorHnin Htet Htet Aung
DateApril 12, 2024

Abstract*The paper was written based on an interview conducted on March 1, 2024.

Democracy and Human Rights Program

Hong Kong Activism from the Perspective of Journalism and Cultural Ideas

AuthorSulastri
DateMarch 28, 2024

Abstract*This paper was written based on an interview conducted on February 27, 2024.

Democracy and Human Rights Program

Freedom of Party Formation through the Constitutions of Thailand

AuthorParin Jaruthavee
DateMarch 22, 2024

AbstractThe freedom of party formation is fundamental to democratic values but is often overlooked in Thailand. Contrary to its intended purpose of safeguarding rights and freedoms, the Thai constitution inadvertently impedes these very principles. By imposing stringent requirements for party formation and facilitating easier dissolution, the constitution not only imposes burdens on political parties but also restricts the freedom to establish them. Such constraints significantly undermine Thai citizens’ political participation and representation. Furthermore, the ease of party dissolution manipulates Thailand’s political context, and is often used as a strategic chess piece in the broader political game. This dynamic further complicates the political landscape in Thailand and highlights the need for constitutional reform to truly reflect the voice of the people.

Democracy and Human Rights Program

Visualizing Record China Discourse through Exponential Family Embeddings

AuthorWu Tung-Wen
DateMarch 21, 2024

AbstractThis paper employs exponential family embeddings, a Bayesian machine learning method, to analyze the discourse in articles published by Record China. Specifically, it estimates the meaning of words in Record China articles by using exponential family embeddings. As a result of the estimation, this paper quantitatively reveals China's argument that Chinese democracy is superior and the discourse that the U.S. is a threat. If the amount of data is expanded in the future, it will be possible to visualize changes in Record China's discourse and differences between this discourse and that of the Japanese media in general. (The content of this article is solely the opinion of the author and has nothing to do with dip Corporation, to which the author belongs.)

Democracy and Human Rights Program

Motherhood in Activism: A Dialogue with a Myanmar Activist Living in Japan

AuthorHnin Htet Htet Aung
DateMarch 13, 2024

Abstract* This paper was written based on an interview conducted on February 22, 2024.

Democracy and Human Rights Program

China–Georgia Relations: A New Move on the Chessboard?

AuthorAnna Dolidze
DateMarch 8, 2024

AbstractOn January 14, 2024, a high-level delegation from Georgia’s ruling party visited China to bolster ties related to the Middle Corridor Initiative, connecting China and Europe. Georgia support this initiative due to obstacles in the northern route via Russia caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. China has been active in Georgia through investments and participation in the Belt and Road Initiative. The visit follows a Strategic Partnership Statement signed in 2023, marking a significant milestone. However, the specifics of the partnership remain vague, and Georgia's foreign policy priorities primarily focus on relations with Russia and Western allies. The statement aims to deepen political, economic, and cultural ties, but its practical outcomes are uncertain. Consideration of other regional players like Russia, the United States, and Turkey is crucial, given their historical interests in the Caucasus region. Georgia's pivot towards China represents a shift in its foreign policy approach, but its impact on bilateral relations remains uncertain amidst the complex geopolitical dynamics of the Caucasus.

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Other Publications

Democracy and Human Rights Program

“TikTok’s Impact on Security and the Current State of TikTok Regulations: Cases of the United States and Europe” [in Japanese]

AuthorSascha Hannig Nuñez and Maiko Ichihara
DateFebruary 1, 2024

AbstractOn February 1, 2024, Ms. Sascha Hannig Nuñez, a doctoral student in the Graduate School of Law, and Professor Maiko Ichihara of the Graduate School of Law co-authored an article, “TikTok's Impact on Security and the Current State of TikTok Regulations: Cases of the United States and Europe,” which was published in the Journal of Law and Information System. In this paper, Ms. Hannig and Professor Ichihara first discussed the role of media and social media platforms in shaping the narrative orchestrated by the Chinese government. They then examined the concerns raised by TikTok from four perspectives: national security concerns, input biases in algorithms and AI, dissemination of misinformation particularly among youth, and democratic considerations. Subsequently, they analyzed the regulations imposed on TikTok in Europe and the United States and concluded by providing recommendations for future actions to be taken in Japan. They emphasized the importance of measures that protect national security and children's rights while eliminating arbitrariness. They highlighted the necessity of conducting analyses of social media platforms, considering the influence of Chinese domestic laws, and implementing legal frameworks to protect privacy rights.

” Influence Operations that Attack Adversaries from Within: The Political Nature of What China “Does Not Talk About”” [in Japanese]

AuthorMaiko Ichihara
DateJanuary 25, 2024

AbstractOn January 25, 2024, an article authored by Professor Maiko Ichihara of the Graduate School of Law, titled “Influence Operations that Attack Adversaries from Within: The Political Nature of What China "Does Not Talk About"," was published on nippon.com. In this article, Professor Ichihara discusses the recent expansion of methods and scale of China's influence operations, as well as their primary objectives. Under the regime of Xi Jinping, she notes, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has aggressively deployed influence operations, including strengthening external propaganda and leveraging disinformation abroad. Amidst increasing international criticism following events such as the protests in Hong Kong and the COVID-19 pandemic, she points out, the CCP has propagated narratives that glorify the party while criticizing the United States' response. Furthermore, she emphasizes that the CCP's objective in conducting influence operations is to weaken democratic nations from within, highlighting the issue of disinformation surrounding the discharge of treated water as a typical example. Finally, Professor Ichihara stresses that the targets of influence operations are individuals like ourselves, underscoring the importance of being mindful of the political agendas of information disseminators when consuming information.

Global Risk and Crisis Management Program

Institutional Considerations on the Authority to Investigate and Verify in the Global Health Regime [in Japanese]

AuthorAKIYAMA Nobumasa
DateNovember, 25, 2023

AbstractOn November 25, 2023, an article by Professor Nobumasa Akiyama of the Graduate School of Law, entitled "Institutional Considerations on the Authority to Investigate and Verify in the Global Health Regime" was published in International Politics, No. 211, "International Politics on Health." The article analyzes the factors that ensure the value and normative effectiveness of the international regime during an infectious disease pandemic crisis that is almost a threat to national security, where national sovereignty comes to the forefront. Professor Akiyama first discusses the cases of the Additional Protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the challenge inspections of the Chemical Weapons Convention, summarizing the factors that make it possible to implement systems that constrain national sovereignty: technical feasibility, social demand, the political environment, and the institutional and political availability of discretion by sovereign states. Then, from the perspective of the relationship between states and the World Health Organization, he discusses the institutional issues surrounding the revision of the International Health Regulations and information sharing and reporting during a pandemic. Finally, Professor Akiyama makes recommendations on the required role of international organizations and measures to overcome the conflict of national sovereignty to improve the effectiveness of infectious disease control through the international regime in the field of public health.

The Postwar Conception of the Allied Powers and the Charter Regime: The Dramatic Development of International Criminal Law and International Human Rights Law [in Japanese]

AuthorTAKEMURA Hitomi
DateJuly 31, 2023

AbstractOn July 31, 2023, The History of International Human Rights Law, in which a chapter was written by Professor Hitomi Takemura at the Graduate School of Law, was published. The professor wrote the chapter, “The Postwar Conception of the Allied Powers and the Charter Regime: The Dramatic Development of International Criminal Law and International Human Rights Law.” This chapter discusses the background of the Allied conception of the post-war international order and the process and significance of international trials for war crimes. Professor Takemura begins by pointing out that the lessons learned from the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials include the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the principles recognized in the Nuremberg judgment and the establishment that crimes against peace and humanity are crimes under the international law. She then reviews the history of the UN Charter regime and the conception and drafting of the International Bill of Human Rights and discusses the impact of the Holocaust on international human rights protection. Finally, she concludes that the universal values of respecting human dignity and achieving justice in the Allied Powers' conception of the postwar international order have led to the recognition of the UN as a universal international organization and to States’ adherence to international human rights law.

Democracy and Human Rights Program

Japan and South Korea should also support Refugees in Asia [in Japanese]

AuthorICHIHARA Maiko
DateAugust 6, 2023

AbstractOn August 6, 2023, The Shinano Mainichi Shimbun published an article authored by Professor Maiko Ichihara of the Graduate School of Law, titled " Japan and South Korea should also support Refugees in Asia." The article outlines the stance that Japan and South Korea should take in response to the large number of refugees in Asia, comparable to or even exceeding that in Ukraine. Professor Ichihara first explains the number of refugees equal to or surpassing that of Ukraine in Afghanistan and Syria, and subsequently analyzes why these occurrences remain underreported. The professor highlights the difference in clarity between the situation of sovereignty violation depicted in the Ukrainian invasion, and the seemingly sovereignty-unrelated emergence of refugees stemming from internal political situations in the other two countries. Furthermore, the article argues that the distinction between good and evil is sharply delineated in the context of Ukraine, whereas in other cases, the challenge lies in framing actions within a good-versus-evil paradigm. Lastly, Professor Ichihara emphasizes the imperative for collaboration and support in terms of objective and reputable humanitarian aid within Asia, urging the governments of Japan and South Korea to contribute to refugee assistance efforts.

Democracy and Human Rights Program

The Transformation of International Politics as Seen in False Information and Narratives about Israel and Hamas [in Japanese]

AuthorMaiko Ichihara
DateDecember 8, 2023

AbstractOn December 8, 2023, the Foresight published an article by Professor Maiko Ichihara of the Graduate School of Law titled "The Transformation of International Politics as Seen in False Information and Narratives about Israel and Hamas.” In this article, Professor Ichihara pointed out that misinformation and disinformation surrounding Israel and Hamas are widespread and that actors at various levels, including governments, political parties, trolls, and conspiracy theorists, distort the information space and have an impact that cannot be ignored. She explained the mechanism of the spread of disinformation using the attention economy model, in which content that attracts people's attention and appeals to their emotions rather than to the truth or quality of information is spread, and such emotionally appealing false content is spread on the Internet at an astonishing rate. While the need for fact-checking and media literacy education has been pointed out, she discusses the limitations of the effectiveness of fact-checking and media literacy education, given that the speed at which disinformation appears greatly exceeds the speed of fact-checking, that actors who seek to manipulate people's emotions and behavior do not necessarily spread only disinformation, and that actors who engage in influence operations launder information. Finally, she emphasized the need for an analytical framework to understand and analyze international politics shaped by people driven by emotions and information in an era when not only military power but also information and various types of actors, not only state parties, have influence.

Democracy and Human Rights Program

Myanmar Issue at Crossroads for Solution [in Japanese]

AuthorMaiko Ichihara
DateNovember 12, 2023

AbstractOn November 12, 2023, the Shinano Mainichi Shimbun published an article authored by Professor Maiko Ichihara of the Graduate School of Law entitled "Myanmar Issue at Crossroads for Solution. The article focuses on the civil war in Myanmar, which continues without support or attention from the rest of the world, despite concerns that the world situation may become unstable due to serious conflicts breaking out simultaneously, such as Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing struggle between the Islamic organization Hamas against Israel. Professor Ichihara noted that the the National Unity Government (NUG) and ethnic minorities continue to resist the army, which staged a coup and took over the government in 2021, in various parts of the country, and that the future of the Operation 1027, which was launched in the northeastern area, will determine the future course of the conflict. In addition, she stated that many of the displaced people born as a result of the fighting in the northeast are facing severe food shortages. She stressed that even under these circumstances, the international community has not provided substantial assistance and that Japan, as a major power in Asia, should take the lead in resolving the Myanmar issue to prevent further civilian casualties.

Democracy and Human Rights Program

An Op-Ed on ‘Boric and the Mirage of his China Criticism’

Authorel Espectador
DateOctober 24, 2023

AbstractOn October 24, 2023, el Espectador published ‘Boric and the Mirage of his China Criticism’ by Sascha HANNIG NUÑEZ, a doctoral student in the Graduate School of Law. The article discusses the Chilean president's position on universal human rights, the case of his abrupt change of speech a week after he visited China, and the risks small countries take when confronting countries that retaliate against such criticism. According to Ms Hannig, small states today have the space to take a clear stand. They should have this right in humanitarian conflicts, but this is impossible without a strong international community. She added that developing countries are often cautious about taking positions that could affect their economic potential, freedom, and international relations and that this explains why Chile and other countries have taken clear positions criticizing human rights issues in Nicaragua and Venezuela, but not in China. The article was published in 10 media outlets in 8 countries, including La Nación and El Pitaso.

Global Risk and Crisis Management Program

Global Risk and Crisis Management Program

AuthorAKIYAMA Nobumasa
DateOctober 16, 2023

AbstractOn October 16, 2023, a paper authored by Professor Nobumasa Akiyama, Dean of the School of International and Public Policy, entitled 'How Should Japan Consolidate the Credibility of Extended Deterrence?' was published in the AJISS-Commenttary of the Japan Institute of International Affairs. This paper discusses the building of 'deterrence by punishment' capabilities beyond ‘deterrence by denial' as an effort to increase the credibility of Japan's extended deterrence, and the importance of pursuing diplomatic initiatives for threat reduction, in an international context where confidence in extended deterrence has been shaken following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Professor Akiyama notes that while strengthening the extended deterrence arrangement with the US is essential for Japan's security, what is required now is an action plan the US and Japan, in cooperation with other partner countries, can swiftly implement to build assets comprising deterrence architecture, a coordination mechanism for the US-Japan alliance to effectively operate assets optimized for the threat landscape and a solid political foundation. He also stated that it is essential for the United States, Japan, and other partner countries to send a closely coordinated and unified signal to China and North Korea to avoid increasing room for coercive action by China at the regional level in East Asia, while at the same time making diplomatic efforts through strategic dialogue with China and North Korea to ensure crisis stability and build confidence leading to future arms control.

Global Risk and Crisis Management Program

New Phases of Nuclear Arms Control and Disarmament [in Japanese]

AuthorAKIYAMA Nobumasa
DateJuly 31, 2023

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.

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