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 AY2022

Research Performance in AY2022

The Center for Democracy Promotion had another very productive year in terms of research outputs and public engagements. It represents the best research performance in all of APU, utilizing both faculty, graduate students, and affiliated members.
In AY2022, 9 peer-reviewed journal articles have been published by its members (6 by APU members). Additionally, 8 book chapters and four book reviews have been published by its APU members. Sato co-edited a book. Not all commentaries and policy papers are listed here, due to the large number. Nineteen of the member publications (double-counted if co-authored by two members, highlighted in yellow) are listed in SCOPUS.

External Engagements in AY2022

Most members actively participated in academic conferences in their respective association. Sato had extensive engagements with international media, with numerous newspaper and other journalist quotes overseas, TV appearances on stations in more than six countries, including BBC and Al Jazeera. For Sato’s global engagements, see weekly APU Senate reports on media exposures. Chen also made some media appearances (listed under his publications).
Sato undertook a visiting senior research fellowship during this period with the Yusof Ishak Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore’s premier think tank. He also spoke on numerous think tank conferences and public forums online.
Three members (Sato, Yoshimatsu, Chadha) took part on the APU Team with an Erasmus-funded joint publication project, completing an edited volume on Indo-Pacific Studies.

Member Publications during AY2022
Sek Sophal
Scrapping the Submarine Deal? Domestic Politics and Regional Security in Thailand (May 5, 2022), Critical Asian Studies.

Astha Chadha
Books Chapters Articles Book Reviews Hidetaka Yoshimatsu
Journal Articles
  • “Japan’s Strategic Response to China’s Geo-economic Presence: Quality Infrastructure as a Diplomatic Tool”, The Pacific Review, Vol.36, No.1, 2023, pp.148-176
  • “India’s Response to China’s Geo-economic Rise: Hedging with a Multi-Pronged Engagement”, Australian Journal of Politics & History, Vol.68, No.4, 2022, pp.593-611
  • “Indonesia’s Response to the Belt and Road Initiative and the Indo-Pacific: A Pivotal State’s Hedging Strategy”, Asian Politics & Policy, Vol.14, No.2, 2022, pp.159-174
Book chapter
  • “Japan’s Indo-Pacific Strategy: Free and Open Indo-Pacific as International Public Goods”, in Barbara Kratiuk et al (eds) Handbook of Indo-Pacific Studies (Abingdon: Routledge, 2023).
  • “Contestation and Adaptation in Japan’s Strategic Responses to the Belt and Road Initiative”, in Dragan Pavlićević and Nicole Talmacs (eds) The China Question: Contestations and Adaptations (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022).
Ching-Chang Chen
Journal articles
  • Agarwal, Amya, Chen, Ching-Chang, et. al. (2022). Forum: Searching for a Global Solidarity: A Collective Auto-Ethnography of Early-Career Women Researchers in the Asia-Pacific. International Studies Perspectives. Advance online publication.
    Doi: 10.1093/isp/ekac007
  • Krickel-Choi, Nina C., Chen, Ching-Chang, and Bukh, Alexander. (2022). Embodying the state differently in a Westphalian world: an ontological exit for the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands dispute. Third World Quarterly. Advance online publication.
    Doi: 10.1080/01436597.2022.2152789
  • Krickel-Choi, Nina C., and Chen, Ching-Chang. (2023). Defending the Islands, Defending the Self: Taiwan, Sovereignty, and the Origin of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands Dispute as Ontological Security-Seeking. Pacific Review. Advance online publication.
    Doi: 10.1080/09512748.2023.2166978
Book review
  • Chen, Ching-Chang. (2022). These islands are ours: the social constructions of territorial disputes in Northeast Asia. Journal of Borderlands Studies, 37(3): 657-658.
Media appearance
  • “China’s punitive measures on Taiwan likely to intensify & last for months, even years.” Mothership, August 6, 2022.
  • “Nej til unionen.” Weekendavisen, June 30, 2022.
  • 「陳慶昌:台海若有事 日自衛隊會有限度協防」中國評論新聞網, April 30, 2022.
Yoichiro Sato
Journal Article
  • Elena Atanassova-Cornelis & Yoichiro Sato (2022) Asia and Europe in Japan’s Alignment Policies: Drivers, Strategic Expectations and Future Outlook, Asian Affairs, 53:3, 520-541,
    DOI: 10.1080/03068374.2022.2093049
Book chapter Book
  • Barbara Kratiuk, Jeroen Van den Bosch, Aleksandra Jaskólska, Yoichiro Sato, editors (2023). Handbook of Indo-Pacific Studies. Routledge.
Book review


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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