Center for Democracy Promotion

Purpose and Background

In the wake of the democratization of Eastern Europe after the end of the Cold War and the international demands for reconstruction of “failed states” after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the need for developed countries to provide democratization support to developing countries is increasing. The main purpose of establishing the center will be to undertake commissioned research from FREEDOM HOUSE, a non-governmental organization that promotes such democratization support, to create a report about democratization assistance from the Japanese government. The center will also encompass related research conducted by APU graduate students. After gaining a foothold, the research group members will aim to acquire additional external contract research and research funding, to present papers at conferences, and to publish the papers.

Research Projects

FREEDOM HOUSE Commissioned Research, "Democratization Support by the Japanese Government," Research and Report

We will reveal the quantitative and qualitative nature of the Japanese government’s democratization support for developing countries in an internationally comparable form.

The DPC's FREEDOM HOUSE Commissioned Research,"Democratization Support by the Japanese Government"
Research and Report is here.

"Democratization Support by the Japanese Government" (Continued and Expanded)

In addition to descriptive reports, we will attempt a deeper scholarly analysis that will lead to a paper. In the academic paper, we will reveal the priority and correlation of "democratization" factors in the Japanese government’s policy-making for official development assistance (ODA), in comparison with other independent variables.

“Civil society and social movement in Hong Kong and Taiwan”

China's rise has been bringing profound impact to its peripheries and the rest of the world. Much attention has been paid to the security and economic aspects of such transformation, yet its political impact on neighboring countries remains understudied. This project seeks to examine the way in which China uses economic instruments to shape political life in Hong Kong (as a Special Administrative Region) and Taiwan (the next target to implement the policy of "One Country, Two Systems") and the role played by Hong Kong's and Taiwan's civil society in resisting the perceived erosion of their civil liberty and political rights.

"Democratization of Myanmar and Nepal"

We will clarify the causes of Myanmar and Nepal’s transition to civil administration and the internal and external challenges facing the democratization process.

"Democracy Transition and Stagnation in Thailand"

We analyze the causes of Thailand’s democratic transition, stagnation, and its reversal through internal socio-political dynamics and external relations.

"‘Democratization’ in United States Diplomacy"

We will reveal how the theme of "democracy assistance" that was taken up by the Bush administration in American foreign policy after the 9/11 terrorist attacks later changed during the Obama administration and whether it will be applied under the Trump Administration.

"‘Participation’ in Democracy"

With the exception of direct democracy in some small countries, many democratic governments employ indirect democracy (representative government). However there are usually a variety of institutionalized mechanisms through which citizens can directly participate in politics in a form other than election voting. Such "participation" requires careful consideration from the viewpoint of "quality". We will study theoretically the quality of participation, which is a prerequisite to questioning what democracy support permitting high-quality participation should be.

Main Activities in AY2020

  • SATO Yoichiro
    Made several presentations at international conferences and workshops including the AP Conference. Published a co-edited book, two book chapters including one Portuguese and two articles.
    • (Book, co-edited) “Identity, Culture and Memory in Japanese Foreign Policy” (Peter lang, Feb. 2021, with Kolmas, M.)
    • (Book Chapter) “Industrial Policies, the East Asian Miracle, and Regional Integration after the 2008 Global Financial Crisis”. In: Identity, Culture and Memory in Japanese Foreign Policy (2021), pp.85-102.
    • (Book Chapter) “Japão e sua percepção em evolução sobre uma região” COLEÇÃO DESAFIOS GLOBAIS Volume 4, Ásia-Pacífico 4, 2021, pp. 255-265.
    • (Article) “The Sino-Japanese maritime disputes in the East China Sea”, CIMSEC, 2020.
    • (Article) “Japan’s counter-strike debate amid the post-prime minister Abe leadership race”, Asia Pacific Bulletin (524), East-West Center, 2020.
  • YOSHIMATSU Hidetaka
    Publications include two journal articles in Asian Survey and The Pacific Review along with two presentations in international conferences including the AP Conference
    • (Article) “High-Standard Rules and Leadership Capacity in Japan’s Mega-FTA Strategy”, Asian Survey, Vol.60, No.4, 2020, pp.733-54.
    • (Article) “Partnership against the Rising Dragon? Japan’s Foreign Policy towards India”, The Pacific Review, Vol.33, No.3-4, 2020, pp.608-34.
    • (Conference presentation) “Japan’s Infrastructural Push Back: Strategic Responses to China’s BRI”, presented at the workshop on “The China Question: Contestations and Adaptations”, December 18, 2020, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China (online).
    • (Conference presentation) “India’s Hedging Strategy against the Belt and Road Initiative”, presented at the 18th Asia Pacific Conference, November 13-14, 2020, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan (online).
  • CHEN Ching Chang
    Made 2 presentations at the book workshop at AP Conference 2020 and presented at the 165th Diplomatic Roundtable by Japan Forum on International Relations.
    • (Conference presentation) “Political Healing in East Asian International Relations: What, Why, and How”, National Chung Hsing University-Ryukoku joint mini-symposium, 30 October, 2020.
    • (Conference presentation with a co-author) “Meta-Storytelling: An Investigation into the Narration of Narratives”, Pre-Asia Pacific Conference Workshop, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, 13 November, 2020.
    • (Conference presentation) “‘Becoming Taiwanese’: Pandemic-Control as Nation-Building amid Heightened US-China Strategic Rivalry”, Pre-Asia Pacific Conference Workshop, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, 14 November, 2020.
    • (Conference presentation) “The Future of Taiwan in the Age of US-China Hegemonic Competition”, 165th Diplomatic Roundtable, Japan Forum on International Relations, 27 November, 2020).
  • LAK Chansok
    Presented at the AP Conference and two other international forums. Other achievements include a book chapter, a session for MEXT scholarship application at Phnom Pehn, Cambodia and seven interviews with news agencies on a variety of topics including Cambodia and Japan.
    • (Article, co-authored) “Remittances from Cambodian labour migrant workers in South Korea for socioeconomic enhancement: A case study of rural households in Pea Reang District, Prey Veng Province”, Cambodia Journal of Basic and Applied Research (CJBAR), 2(2).
    • (Book Chapter, co-authored) “Hun Sen’s Thought on Cambodia’s Foreign Policy”. In Asian Vision Institute (Ed.), Hun Sen’s Thoughts (Chapter 6). Singapore: The World Scientific.
    • (Conference presentation) “The Belt and Road in Southeast Asia: Views from the Region”, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in the U.S. and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Indonesia, 17-18 February 2021.
    • (Conference presentation) “The Concept of Hedging Revisited: Cambodia’s Alignment Politics toward the United States and China in the COVID-19 World”, 18th Asia Pacific Conference, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan, 14-15 November 2020.
  • CHADHA Astha
    Presented at four international conferences including AAS in Asia and AP Conference. Was selected among twenty people across Japan for IMF-JICA Macroeconomist Program in Tokyo. Published two book reviews and three articles for The Diplomat.
    • (Book Review) “The Heavenly Land and the Land of the Rising Sun: Historical Linkages, Security Cooperation and Strategic Partnership”, Contemporary Japan, 2021.
    • (Article) “Japan Aims for Greater Engagement in Latin America”, The Diplomat, Jan 12, 2021.
    • (Article) “India’s Foreign Policy Towards Japan”, Ritsumeikan Journal of Asia Pacific Studies, 2020, Vol. 38, Issue 1.
    • (Conference Presentation) “India's COVID 19 policy and implications for its relations with Africa”, VIJIGISHU 2020, by Amity University, NIICE and Moolya Foundation, September 28-30, 2020.
    • (Conference Presentation) “Imagined community, constructed enemy and gendered nationalism in South Asian films: Case of Ghazi Shaheed (1998) and The Ghazi Attack (2017)”, AAS in Asia 2020, Kobe, Japan, Aug 31-Sep 04, 2020.
    • (Conference Presentation) “India’s COVID-19 diplomacy”, NIICE-WPC International Conference, Nepal, Aug 29-31, 2020.
  • SEK Sophal
    Wrote nine articles for outlets like South Asia Globe, The Bangkok Post and Australian Outlook.
    • (Article) In Thailand, is it compromise failed or failed to compromise? (Southeast Asia Globe, Nov 24)
    • (Article) Silencing the Media Won’t Stop the Thailand Protests (Coconut, Oct 22)
    • (Article) The US-Thailand Security Alliance: Growing Strategic Mistrust (Australian Outlook, Oct 2)
    • (Article) US self-interest behind GSP axe (The Bangkok Post, April 27)
    • (Article) Southeast Asia’s Silence Over China’s Clashes with Vietnam (9DASHLINE, April 17)
  • KAITUU Funaki
    Invited to and joined the Royal Oceania Institute Board of Directors (Tonga). Conducted an online public lecture for De La Salle University (Philippines) and signed an MoU with the Social Development Research Center (SDRC) as the university’s first Remote Visiting Researcher.
    • (Guest speaker) “Voices of the Voiceless in Times of Crisis”, 2020 Horasis Asia Meeting, November 2020.
    • (Public Lecture) De La Salle University (Philippines), organized by the Social Development Research Center (SDRC), August 2020.
    • (Book chapter) Presently writing a book chapter with Massey University, Book title “Managing the Post-Colony” with a focus on Oceania and South-East Asia led by Prof. Gavin Jack (Monash Business School), along with Associate Professor Michelle Evans (Melbourne University) and Dr. Billie Lythberg (Auckland University)


Yoichiro Sato Professor Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
Hidetaka Yoshimatsu Professor Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
Shunichi Takekawa Professor Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
Chen Ching Chang Associate Professor Ryukoku University
Michael Porter APS PhD Student Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
Dani Kida RCAPS Visiting Research Fellow Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
Santosh Poudel Sharma Lecturer Tribhuvan University
Chansok Lak Lecturer
PhD Student
University of Cambodia
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
Astha Chadha PhD Student Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
Sek Sophal Communication and Advocacy Officer Cambodian Center for Independent Media
Kaituu Funaki Director The Dignified Pacific Initiative

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