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  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The prospects for exploring seabed minerals, specifically rare earth elements (REEs) have risen courtesy technological innovations in the field of deep-sea exploration. REEs are identified as a group of 17 chemical elements in the periodic table, found relatively in abundance in the Earth’s crust. They share similar chemical and physical properties and are of vital use in a variety of sectors, including by military manufacturers and technology firms. The largest subgroup within the REEs are the 15 lanthanides. The two other elements being scandium and yttrium. Based on quantity, the lanthanides, cerium, lanthanum, and neodymium are the most produced rare earths elements. These elements earn the distinction of being ‘rare’ for their availability in quantities which are significant enough to support viable economic mineral development of the deposits. However, from a cost-effective point of view, they are not consumable. It is not economically viable to extract these elements for consumption purposes since they are not concentrated enough and remain thinly dispersed as deep as 6.4 kilometers underwater
  • Topic: Development, Bilateral Relations, Partnerships, Research, Mining, Trade
  • Political Geography: Japan, India, Asia
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: In the last quarter of the 18th century, Warren Hastings, the first de facto Governor General of India from 1774 to 1785 initiated and set up the English East India Company’s relations with Tibet. The first contact in this reference was initiated by the Tibetans, when, upon hearing the news of the defeat of Bhutan’s King Desi Shidariva by the British forces in the battle for Cooch Behar (1772-1774), the Panchen Lama, Palden Yeshe, wrote a historic letter of mediation addressed to the Governor General. Hastings seized the opportunity, and, in his response proposed a general treaty of amity and peace between Bengal and Tibet.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Affairs, History, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, England, Tibet
  • Author: Thomas S. Wilkins
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The notion of the “Indo Pacific” (IP) as a regional construct has gained significant traction in the last few years, at least in part due to its adoption in the centerpiece “Free and Open Indo Pacific” (FOIP) strategies of the United States and Japan. The continued application of the term by policymakers, analysts and scholars has served to further entrench its prominence within the regional security discourse. As a consequence, all states with major interests in this “new” region have felt compelled to engage with the concept and formulate appropriate policies to embrace or otherwise react to it. This task is made all the more difficult due to the fluidity of its definitions, interpretations, and the differing motivations of competing regional states that either adopt or reject it.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Geopolitics, ASEAN
  • Political Geography: Japan, United States of America, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: In the last quarter of the 18th century, Warren Hastings, the first de facto Governor General of India from 1774 to 1785 initiated and set up the English East India Company’s relations with Tibet. The backdrop to this was created when the ruler (sde-srid or srid-skyon) of Bhutan overran Sikkim some years prior. In 1771, the Bhutanese descended on the plains and invaded Cooch-Behar, taking in the Raja (King) as a prisoner. The royal family called on Warren Hastings for assistance, who, in turn, dispatched a battalion of sepoys. The Bhutanese were driven away from Cooch-Behar and chased into the Duars around winter 1772-1773.1 In the given circumstances, the Bhutanese government appealed the Tashi Lama (who was the acting Regent of Tibet during the infancy of the Dalai Lama) to intervene on their behalf.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, History, Trade
  • Political Geography: India, Asia, England, Tibet
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Bilateral defense cooperation agreements (DCAs) have become the most common form of institutionalized defense cooperation. These formal agreements establish broad defense-oriented legal frameworks between signatories, facilitating cooperation in fundamental areas such as defense policy coordination, research and development, joint military exercises, education and training, arms procurement, and exchange of classified information. Nearly a thousand DCAs are currently in force, with potentially wideranging impacts on national and international security outcomes. A theory that integrates cooperation theory with insights from social network analysis explains the significance and need for DCAs. Shifts in the global security environment since the 1980s fueled the demand for DCAs. Ever since, States are known to have used DCAs to modernize their militaries, respond to shared security threats, and establish security umbrellas with like-minded states. However, the DCA proliferation cannot be attributed to the demand factor alone. Nations are required also to overcome dilemmas of mistrust and distributional conflicts. Network influences can increase the supply of DCAs by providing governments with information about the trustworthiness of partners and the risk of asymmetric distributions of gains. Two specific network influences that can be identified here are—preferential attachment and triadic closure. They show that these influences are largely responsible for the post-Cold War diffusion of DCAs. Novel empirical strategies further indicate that these influences derive from the proposed informational mechanism. States use the DCA ties of others to glean information about prospective defense partners, thus endogenously fueling further growth of the global DCA network.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Japan, India, Asia
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The 20th and 21st centuries will be remembered for many things, including primacy of the vast and seemingly endless seas and oceans. In this setting, the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) finds itself at the heart of the world map connecting distant nations through limitless waters. As a Northeast Asian island nation, Japan’s involvement with the Indian Ocean is heavily defined by virtue of its trade, investment and supplies from this region. Japan’s story in this reference dates back to the 17th century when a prominent Japanese adventurer, merchant, and trader, Tenjiku Tokubei sailed to Siam (Thailand) and subsequently to India in 1626 aboard a Red Seal ship via China, Vietnam and Malacca. Often referred to as the ‘Marco Polo of Japan’, Tokubei’s adventurous journey and account of his travels to India gained distinction also because he became perhaps the first Japanese to visit Magadh (which was an Indian kingdom in southern Bihar during the ancient Indian era).
  • Topic: Security, Development, Regional Cooperation, History, Capacity
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, Indian Ocean
  • Author: Valerie Niquet
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: China plays a significant role in Africa, particularly in Ethiopia, where the current Director-General of the WHO was Minister of Health and then Minister of Foreign Affairs. This opaque influence and the support given by Beijing to Dr. Tedros seems to have weighed on the positions taken by the WHO in the face of the Covid 19 crisis. The consequences of these decisions are now being felt worldwide and contribute to undermining the credibility of a fragile multilateral system.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, United Nations, World Health Organization, Multilateralism, Soft Power, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: South China Sea’s territorial disputes gained the spotlight yet again with the April 18, 2020 announcement1 by China’s State Council, through which, it approved setting up ‘two new’ municipal districts (dependencies of the southernmost Sansha city, in the Hainan province) covering the South China Sea – namely the ‘Xisha District’ and ‘Nansha District’. Home to an estimated 11 billion barrels of untapped oil, and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea possess rich natural resources and fishing areas. The Fiery Cross Reef will be in charge of the administration of the islands, reefs, and sea areas of the Spratly Islands.2 The Fiery Cross Reef used to be an underwater reef that was converted into an artificial island following massive land reclamation undertaken by China. This reef was virtually untouched by manmade structures until March 2014 and was transformed into an artificial island in the span of one year by March 2015. Furthermore, the Woody Island will be in charge of the administration of the islands, reef, and sea areas of the Paracel Islands.3 China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Ministry of Natural Resources has released the longitudes, latitudes, and standardized names of 25 islands and reefs and 55 undersea geographic entities in the disputed South China Sea. The listed islands include Sanzhizai – an islet north of the Woody Island in Sansha city in South China’s Hainan Province.
  • Topic: Territorial Disputes, Geopolitics, Arbitration
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Philippines, South China Sea
  • Author: Thomas S. Wilkins
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The spread of the novel Corona Virus COVID-19 from the Chinese province of Hebei across the world has resulted in a global pandemic of catastrophic proportions. Certain countries have been affected more severely than others, and there have been glaring disparities in how national governments have responded to the outbreak. In addition to the global death toll of 400,000 (and counting), the industrial and financial disruption has been severe, with the Asian Development Bank estimating the loss to the global economy at between USD$ 5.8-8.8 trillion.1 To overcome the current crisis, and work toward a vaccine, global solidarity, including cooperation through multilateral organizations like the World Heath Organization (WHO), is desperately needed.
  • Topic: Health, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Archival accounts of 19th centur y Tibet describe it as the forbidden, inaccessible, daunting and remotely unreachable territory of the Himalayas. Lhasa, the religious and administrative capital of Tibet since the mid-17th century literally meant “Place of the Gods” located at an elevation of about 3,600 m (11,800 ft) at the center of the Tibetan Plateau with the surrounding mountains rising to 5,500 m (18,000 ft). The air in this part contained only 68 percent oxygen compared to sea level, thereby indicating the geographic difficulties of the terrain. Tibet has stirred the curiosity amongst explorers, adventurists and researchers as being amongst the few places in the world that fired the imagination of adventurers. Owing to Buddhism, Japan, quite evidently had far more incentive than most others to reach Tibet, and ultimately, Lhasa. It was in the backdrop of these existential conditions that Ekai Kawaguchi (1866-1945) a Buddhist monk became the first Japanese explorer to embark upon a journey fraught with danger and uncertainty in May 1897 from Tokyo, to have succeeded in touching the frontier of the roof of the world, as he stepped on Tibetan soil for the first time on July 4, 1900
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Thomas Wilkins
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The US Department of Defense (DOD) released its longawaited Indo Pacific Strategy Report (IPSR) in tandem with the IISS-Shangrila Dialogue in Singapore on 1 June 2019. This IPSR appears to subsume or extend the earlier Free and Open Indo Pacific (FOIP) strategy (sometimes referred to now as a “vision”) into a more comprehensive regional Indo Pacific Strategy (IPS), that is anchored in the earlier 2017 National Security Strategy (NSS) and 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) documents. Australia has yet to produce an analogous document dedicated to profiling its own “Indo Pacific Strategy”, but with the US iteration in view, it is possible to construct an plausible image of such a strategy in the Australian case by drawing upon various pertinent materials from a range of government sources. Indeed, the notion of an overarching IPs is gradually taking shape in Australian strategic thinking, as testified to by a variety of official documents, including large portions of the 2016 Defence White Paper, and especially 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper, alongside other policy statements and initiatives, framed in the context of analysis and debate undertaken by nationally-based strategic commentators. A small case “s” in “Indo Pacific strategy” is specifically employed in this paper to distinguish the author’s conception from any formally mandated government “Strategy”
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: John Berkshire Miller
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The Indo-Pacific, as a geographic concept that connects the vast oceans of Pacific and the Indian along with the states in between, is not a new idea. Indeed, the idea of a broader geographic region – rather than more traditional subsets such as East Asia, South Asia, or the more expansive Asia-Pacific – has been used for more than a decade by scholars and practitioners in the region. An Indian naval captain began using the concept in geopolitical terms more than a decade ago, but the terminology has not been limited to scholars in Delhi. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, back during his first stint as Prime Minister in 2007, spoke to India’s parliament about his country’s vision for Indo-Pacific noting a “confluence of the two seas”2 and pressed for a need to transcend beyond traditional frameworks that often separated or minimized the geopolitical connections between South Asian and the Indian Ocean region with that of East Asia and the Pacific
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Histor y often tends to repeat itself, or as Spanish-American philosopher, Jorge Agustín Santayana wrote in 1905-06 in The Life of Reason, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. While setting out to write on, or about Tibet, it is inevitable to conclude that there never was, or will be, a long walk to freedom either for Tibet, or for the holy chair of the successive Dalai Lamas – the god and king-in-one incarnation of Chen-re-zi, the Lord of Mercy – the patron deity of Tibet. The Dalai Lama not only governs his subjects in this life, but can influence their rebirth in the next, or as Tibetans believe is the “Ruler in this life, the Uplifter in the hereafter.”1
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Hideshi Tokuchi
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: It is almost a cliché that Australia and New Zealand are canaries in the coal mine for Chinese attempts at exerting political influence.1 In fact, Chinese influence is not a topic that affects just Oceania. It is already a serious challenge that confronts all democracies and open societies. According to Clive Hamilton’s “Silent Invasion,” a Chinese diplomat who sought political asylum in Australia told Hamilton that Australia’s openness, relatively small population, a large number of Chinese immigrants and commitment to multiculturalism have weakened Australia’s capacity to recognize and defend against the Chinese infiltration, but all democracies and open societies are susceptible to the threat
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Valerie Niquet
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: During two critical meetings, Prime Minister Abe’s visit to France in May 2019, followed by President Macron’s visit to Japan in June of the same year, several elements were highlighted that demonstrate a close convergence of analysis on the strategic situation in the Indo-Pacific region. This convergence paves the way for increased opportunities for cooperation. Internal evolutions on defense-related issues in Japan since 2012 have made this type of cooperation more accessible. On the French side, a more assertive ambition for engagement in a critical area has been expressed on many occasions.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes, Strategic Stability
  • Political Geography: Japan, Europe, Asia, France, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Thomas S. Wilkins
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The US Department of Defense (DOD) released its longawaited Indo Pacific Strategy Report (IPSR) in tandem with the IISS-Shangrila Dialogue in Singapore on 1 June 2019. This IPSR appears to subsume or extend the earlier Free and Open Indo Pacific (FOIP) strategy (sometimes referred to now as a “vision”) into a more comprehensive regional Indo Pacific Strategy (IPS), that is anchored in the earlier 2017 National Security Strategy (NSS) and 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) documents. Australia has yet to produce an analogous document dedicated to profiling its own “Indo Pacific Strategy”, but with the US iteration in view, it is possible to construct an plausible image of such a strategy in the Australian case by drawing upon various pertinent materials from a range of government sources. Indeed, the notion of an overarching IPs is gradually taking shape in Australian strategic thinking, as testified to by a variety of official documents, including large portions of the 2016 Defence White Paper, and especially 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper, alongside other policy statements and initiatives, framed in the context of analysis and debate undertaken by nationally-based strategic commentators. A small case “s” in “Indo Pacific strategy” is specifically employed in this paper to distinguish the author’s conception from any formally mandated government “Strategy”.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, International Affairs, Grand Strategy
  • Political Geography: Australia, Australia/Pacific, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Archival accounts of 19th centur y Tibet describe it as the forbidden, inaccessible, daunting and remotely unreachable territory of the Himalayas. Lhasa, the religious and administrative capital of Tibet since the mid-17th century literally meant “Place of the Gods” located at an elevation of about 3,600 m (11,800 ft) at the center of the Tibetan Plateau with the surrounding mountains rising to 5,500 m (18,000 ft). The air in this part contained only 68 percent oxygen compared to sea level, thereby indicating the geographic difficulties of the terrain. Tibet has stirred the curiosity amongst explorers, adventurists and researchers as being amongst the few places in the world that fired the imagination of adventurers. Owing to Buddhism, Japan, quite evidently had far more incentive than most others to reach Tibet, and ultimately, Lhasa. It was in the backdrop of these existential conditions that Ekai Kawaguchi (1866-1945) a Buddhist monk became the first Japanese explorer to embark upon a journey fraught with danger and uncertainty in May 1897 from Tokyo, to have succeeded in touching the frontier of the roof of the world, as he stepped on Tibetan soil for the first time on July 4, 1900.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, History, Trade
  • Political Geography: India, Asia, Nepal, Tibet
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Standing atop the point where the snowcapped heads of the skyreaching Dhavalgiri ranges get interspersed with the undulating stretch of the northeast prairies of Tibet, scattered with shining streams of water, Ekai Kawaguchi was to keep heading north until arriving at Lake Mānsarovar. Having nothing else to guide him but a compass and a survey that he carried along with, Kawaguchi recalled that at the time of bidding adieu to his folks and friends back home in Japan, he had claimed to enter Tibet in three years. That day was June 26, 1897, and “… here I was, stepping on the soil of Tibet on July 4, 1900” filled with mixed feelings of joy, gratitude and hope.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, History, Trade
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, Tibet
  • Author: Monika Chansoria
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Following his arrival and getting adjusted in Lhasa in March 1901, Japanese Buddhist explorer, Ekai Kawaguchi began familiarizing himself with the life and times of 20th century Tibet. Kawaguchi embarked upon his destination, Tibet, in June 1897 when he left Japan. Arriving in Lhasa nearly four years thereafter, in 1901, Kawaguchi was prepared for the challenges in store, though unaware of the scale of their manifestation. There was a sense of relief though, that he had been able to overcome perhaps the most arduous part of his journey, which was reaching this wearisome and forbidden land whilst being in disguise all through.
  • Topic: History, Conflict
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Valerie Niquet
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: What is at stake today in the Indo-Pacific, is not only strategic stability and territorial issues, but also the defence and support of an international order based on democratic values and multilateralism. These values comprise respect for the rule of law, transparency, particularly concerning defence policy, military budget, financial institutions or ODA attribution policy, but also the denunciation of the use of force or threat to use force to solve territorial or other issues and of course the respect for global commons and freedom of navigation. In that respect, the evolution of the situation in the IndoPacific is of global interest, including for the European Union and its member States. These democratic values constitute the core of the liberal international order and are more broadly accepted as universal norms, including in the Asia Pacific. Asean, for instance, a leading player in the region, favours the signature of a code of conduct in the South China sea based on these values in spite of the attachment of its member States, to the principles of non-interference and sovereignty
  • Topic: Defense Policy, History, Power Politics, Territorial Disputes, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, Indo-Pacific