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Asia and the world as seen by border studies: Implications for US-Japan Relations


Leader Akihiro IWASHITA (Kyushu University)
Researcher Edward BOYLE (Kyushu University)
Term June 2016 – March 2017
Research Outline

To utilize the expertise of the Center for Asia-Pacific Future Studies (CAFS) and its domestic and international networks in order to suggest to the public policy and research communities based in Washington DC what sort of new US-Japan relationship should emerge from the geopolitical transformation currently occurring within Asia.
The Japanese research community has traditionally been deficient in offering practical policy prescriptions, and while its historical explanations and analysis of trends have been fine-grained, this has not translated into detailed foreign policy suggestions that take sufficient account of global and regional dynamics. The current project will be grounded in the knowledge possessed by the border studies community at Kyushu University. In partnership with the Borders in Globalization (BiG, a Canadian-led international research network incorporating institutions in over ten countries) research group, and through seeking to enter into collaboration with the Association for Borderlands Studies (the secretariat of the Japan Chapter of which is located at CAFS), the East-West Center in Washington, the Brookings Institute and so forth, the project will be capable of offering new policy insights to the policy community based in Washington through offering a detailed analysis of the current situation in Northeast Asia.
The Project Leader was a Fellow at the Brookings Institute and has previously undertaken activities in conjunction with research organizations with a strong policy focus, such as the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center, Georgetown University, the East-West Center in Washington (a congressional think-tank), and the Center for Naval Analyses and Institute for Public Research (a Defense Department think-tank). Through such experiences, it became clear to him that many researchers coming from Japan offer only analysis, and therefore do not find their work picked up by the policy community. In order for such work to have an impact in Washington, it is essential that it 1) be relevant to the United States’ interests; 2) analyze the defects and failings in US foreign policy; and 3) incorporate the contributions that Japan can offer the United States with regards to the region by introducing details and analyses on specific themes into foreign policy prescriptions that work to the advantage of the United States. Based on the knowhow that has been acquired by the Project Leader to date, this project shall seek to communicate the results of research done by Kyushu University and the wider Japanese foreign policy community to a wider audience.

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