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Institute of Economic and Political Studies

This institute was founded in 1958 for the purpose of fostering vigorous academic research and contributing to the improvement and development of the national standard of living. As a center for joint research in the social sciences, with weight on interdisciplinary exchange and internationalization, the institute has taken up several research projects. Individual projects are undertaken by teaching staff selected from all faculties for a research period of two or four years.

At present, four research projects are conducted:
(1) Research on social and economic problems in historical and contemporary Osaka and Kansai
(2) Research on Citizens’ Attitudes toward Self-help, Mutual Assistance, and Public Support in Japan
(3) Research Group on Exhibitions and Tourism
(4) “Paradigm change by computerization” research group
(5) Consensus Formations and Institutions
(6) Research Group on “Sound Financial Status and Public Sector Accounting Reform”

Results of the research have been published in a series of bulletins, such as "Economic & Political Studies Series", "Survey & Data Series", and an "Annual Report" of public lectures and seminars.

In addition, this institute has a concurrent function as a specialized information center and is collecting basic research and statistical data as well as regular academic materials related to specialized fields of study.

Further, for the help and assistance of the local community, the institute holds open seminars on industry, public lectures, and public seminars.

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Research Activities

Research on social and economic problems in historical and contemporary Osaka and Kansai

Theme

An analysis of social and economic problems in historical and contemporary in Osaka and Kansai, focusing on labor, social security, and environmental issues

Goal

The goal of this study is to consider problems facing contemporary Osaka and Kansai in the 21st century, based on an analysis of the history and current status of social and economic difficulties. The study places particular focus on labor issues, issues related to urbanization, environmental issues, and various issues related to social policy and social security. While keeping in mind the current political and economic conditions in Osaka and Kansai and the spread of new social movements, we will establish a number of sub-themes and carry out theoretical and empirical analysis, drawing largely on primary source materials contained in the Osaka Labor Archive as the fundamental documents for the study.

By carrying out ongoing research on the theme of “Osaka and Kansai ” from an interdisciplinary and multifaceted perspective, the Institute has generated a large volume of research findings and results. This unique research topic, befitting this Osaka-based university, is significant both in terms of Kansai University’s appeal as a center for Kansai-related and regional studies and as a means of contributing to society.

This research project will synthesize and analyze basic documents related to social and economic problems in Osaka and Kansai , looking at related political, legal, and economic trends as well as the political and economic relations between Osaka and Kobe on one hand and the countries of East Asia on the other. By doing so, our objective is to present the current status of and countermeasures to address the social and economic problems facing Osaka, Through public dissemination of our findings and outreach to the related local organizations, we will seek to play a role in offering a vision of the future for the regional Osaka community.

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Research on Citizens’ Attitudes toward Self-help, Mutual Assistance, and Public Support in Japan

Theme

Empirical Studies of Citizens’ Attitudes toward Self-help, Mutual Assistance, and Public Support

Goal

Our research project examines citizens' attitudes toward self-help, mutual assistance, and public support in Japan. Japanese people tend to emphasize self-help efforts more than mutual assistance and/or public support in solving social problems. It is therefore possible that Japanese do not trust their government and charity organizations, and tend not to engage in civic activities and donate compared to people in other countries. However, there has been little empirical research on citizens' attitudes toward self-help and its impact on political and social behavior.

We will conduct three online surveys in which we investigate citizens' attitudes and behavior on various political and social issues including poverty, welfare, disasters, charitable giving, nonprofit activities, political participation, and partisanship. We also carry out survey experiments and historical analysis in order to make reliable causal inference. Our final goal is to present policy implications for improving the low-level trust in government and charity organizations and the low-level civic engagement in Japan.

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Research Group on Exhibitions and Tourism

Theme

Research on events and tourisms which contribute to a sustainable development of local society in the age of globalization

Goal

Recently, the significance of museums and exhibitions is reconsidered, especially in terms of their capacity to communicate values of tangible objects which cannot be translated into digital data, and their possibility of creating a new sense of shared experience through the most advanced information and communication technologies. Since the EXPO 2005 in Aichi prefecture, the potential of International Exposition as a sustainable event has been acknowledged in Japan, and this has led to the campaigning and appointment of Osaka to host the International Exposition in 2025 for the second time in history.
Our research group examines new trends and possibilities of museums and expositions within the context of tourism from various perspectives in order to make them sustainable for regional development. Our research outcomes are also designated to offer suggestions to practical cultural policies.

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“Paradigm change by computerization” research group

Theme

Research on the change of paradigm by computerization and its correspondence

Goal

Not only Japan but also various social systems in the world were based on the "handwriting system". It can be said that the computerization up until now was to move it to a computer as it was, and to improve the efficiency of aggregation, classification and the like. However, with the practical use of blockchains, big data, cloud services, AI, etc., a new "computer-based system" is emerging. Cyber security on the other side is also an important issue. The purpose of this research is to study how such changes affect society's paradigm, and how society as a whole and in each field should cope.
(A) Computerization: Change from computerization of handwriting-based systems to construction of computer-based systems and social change
(B) Paradigm change: Computerization changes the paradigm, and how does the social and social mindset change in response to it?
(C) Contribution to society: Is the change a desirable direction for the society as a whole, and how does the Japanese culture and social system contribute to the change?
This research is characterized by conducting interdisciplinary research across humanities and sciences. The impact of “the change in paradigms associated with the construction of social systems based on computers” is not limited to a specific field, but will bring about structural change of the entire society. By conducting cross-sectional research in a wide range of fields, I would like to approach its essence.

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Consensus Formations and Institutions

Theme

We try to find institutions which are the foundations of consensus formations, by considering organizations, for instance, international organizations, governments, negotiation bodies of employers and employees, and firms.

Goal

Today, in Japan (and in the world), the dominant values have been faltered and various values are conflicting. In this situation, the issue,“how should we overcome the difference and form consensus” becomes more important in various level (in an international organization, within government, within industrial relationship, and within firm). In order to provide materials for tackling the issue, we analyzes the cases of consensus formations within the various communities. Our purposes are, first, to draws detailed the cases; then to analyze and interprets them economically, sociologically, and politically. Concretely, in deductive and inductive approaches we try to suggest desired process of consensus formations and show institutions supporting them. The deductive approach means: to draw and analyze (historically, sociologically and politically) the cases, focusing on the role of the ideal and norms, power allocations, procedures of consensus formations ; to analyze (institutional economically) broad situations where the cases are embedded in; to analyze economically the effectiveness of the institution, based on quantitative data. The inductive approach means to find general suggestions based on a application model of contract theory.

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Development of Modern Kansai Economy and Its History of International Economic Relations with Asiaand Africa : A Historical Study of Kansai Economy from the viewpoint of International Relations with Asia and Africa

Theme

Considering the Modern Kansai Economy from the International Relationship between Japan and Asia and Africa

Goal

People have long proclaimed the decline of the economy of the Kansai Region. Yet even so, despite claims that the number of companies has been gradually trending upward in recent years, it would have to be said that the difference in the scale of its economy compared with Tokyo’s has grown considerably large, and even more so when compared against its heyday. It could be argued that in thinking about the current state of the Kansai economy, there is enormous significance in shifting the focus of inquiry once again to the era in which the Kansai economy played the role of a driving force for the Japanese economy.

In looking back once more on the era in which the Kansai economy developed, the fact that Kansai was able to develop its industries and grow its exports could be set forth as characteristic features. The expansion of exports to Asia and Africa in particular played a major role in the rebuilding of the Kansai economy in the post-war era. Back then, it was the general trading companies that spearheaded efforts to export goods from Kansai to Asia and Africa, as well as Chinese people living abroad who primarily established their headquarters in Kobe. When we reframed the contemporary status of the Kansai economy based on such examples of economic growth from the past, it enabled us to gain an understanding of an effective proposal regarding what sorts of points we should address. The importance of the relationships with Asia and Africa in particular are growing in importance compared with in the period immediately after the war, and so there is a strong need to relearn how to go about building close relationships with these regions from a historical perspective. In this sense, there is significance in having this research team work to address these points.

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