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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-labor Movements, Politics and Economy in Osaka
(2) Action Research on Citizen Autonomy and Community Empowerment
(3) Research on Sports and Community
(4) Research on the Development of the Modern Osaka Economy
(5) Research on Economic Development and Conservation of Nature in Africa with Special
Reference to Southern African Development Community (SADC)
(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 Labor Movements in Osaka.

Theme

Labor movements and relations in Osaka

Goal

The primary objective of this study is a consideration of contemporary political and economic issues in Osaka and Kansai area, with reference to the social, labor, economic, political and legal history of this region. In order to perform a theoretical and positive analysis of these issues, the main focus is on documents held in the Osaka Labor Archive, with these documents serving as the basic materials.

Our analysis targets social and political movements, labor relations and labor movements, local governments and trials related to the Constitution of Japan, history of the origins of the minimum wage, and of the symbols and imagery used by the social-labor movements in postwar Osaka and Kansai.

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Action Research on Citizen Autonomy and Community Empowerment

Theme

Inter-disciplinary Study Group for Action Research on Citizen Autonomy and Community Empowerment

Goal

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications had required that for the three years starting from 2015 up to 2017, all local public enterprises prepare, as a rule, their financial documents under uniform standards, and make active use of them in budgeting. So, the public sector accounting reform has come into practice at last, after more than 25 years of discussions. In these years, the capital district Tokyo has introduced its own unique accounting system, achieving a sound public finance. On the other hand, the financial status got worse in Osaka Prefecture and many of its local governments. Also the voters rejected the Osaka Metropolis Project referendum.

That is the reason why, at this moment it is necessary to research on the sound financial status of Local Governments in the Kansai Economy including Osaka. So, we decided to start our research program to respond to these needs. At Kansai University, we have already invited personnel of the nearby Local Governments and given support for the promotion of the reform on accounting for the public sector, which is the primary urgent topic. Under these circumstances, we felt that was necessary to set up a Research Group at the Institute of Economic and Political Studies, in order to be able to give support in preparing the accounting system by 2017.

More precisely, strengthen our cooperation with Osaka Prefecture, Osaka city, Suita city, Itami city, Ikeda city, Izumisano city, etc. because we think it is our duty to give support to these cities in achieving a sound public finance, and introducing the new public sector accounting system for Local Governments.

In short, our research objective will be to give support for the introduction of the new public sector accounting leaded by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, and in cooperation with local governments in the nearby, try to find a solution for achieving a sound financial status.

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Research on Sports and Communities

Theme

Responding to Contemporary Issues on Sports and Health with regard to Local Communities and Economies

Goal

The Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo in 2020. They are expected to have a positive effect on economy. Aging population is making “lifetime sports” more than ever, and companies are becoming aware of the need to treat employees’ health as a management issue. Recent“running boom” has led to the creation of numerous marathon events for amateur runners. They are now held all over the country, helping to reenergize local communities. But at the same time, we have recognized a variety of problems. They include the security issue at sports events, as evidenced by the terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon in the U.S., the abuse of authority and violent corporal punishment by some coaches, as exposed by recent scandals involving the Japanese women’s judo team and a high school basketball team in Osaka, sports-related health problems in women athletes (including stress fractures caused by amenorrhea), and a coaching culture in sports for school children criticized as “unhealthy” by Masumi Kuwata, who was a pitcher at Yomiuri Giants.

In this context, the purpose of this research is to study contemporary issues (risks) involving sports and health, and look at responses to them (management). The aim of the project is to present these findings as recommendations for reenergizing local communities and economies through sports and health-promoting activities.

In concrete terms, the project studies the following subjects: 1. Amateur sports and local communities (the benefits of marathons and other running events for host communities); 2. Issues with school sports; 3. Sports and the media; 4. Sports and psychiatry, etc. Research involves the following activities: (a) Documentary surveys; (b) Comparisons with other countries; (c) Fact-finding studies; and (d) Action research.

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Positioning the Development of the Kansai Economy Centered Around Osaka in the Context of Asian History

Theme

Positioning the Development of the Kansai Economy Centered Around Osaka in the Context of Asian History

Goal

In recent years, redevelopment of the Umeda and Abeno districts has brought the Kansai economy centered around Osaka back into the spotlight and drawn large numbers of tourists from Asian countries. But these close connections with Asia are not a recent phenomenon. Rather, when looking at the characteristics of the Kansai economy, it can be seen that ties with Asia played an important role in the history of Kansai from an earlier stage than was the case for other major urban centers, including Tokyo and Nagoya. With attention back on the Kansai economy for the first time in many years, we believe that we need to look to the history of the region and its economy for hints on how to build an even closer network with people from Asia in the future.

Many Chinese and Indian merchants were already active in Kansai as industrialization got underway in the Meiji period (1868–1912) and this trade helped the region’s merchants make great strides. In many cases, relationships with Asian countries played a crucial role in the early development of local industries that continue today. Examples include the matches and other sundries traded between merchants of India and Osaka and the natural rubber and other products from Southeast Asia traded mainly by ethnically Chinese merchants based in Kobe. Deepening our understanding of these examples can only help to obtain beneficial suggestions for building even closer connections between Asia and Kansai in the future.

With the region’s encounters and exchanges with people from Asian countries expected to increase further in the years to come, exploring the historical background in this way can only help to improve mutual understanding and thus provide a positive boost to the future of the Kansai economy centered around Osaka. We hope to help in this way by analyzing as empirically as possible real-world examples close to hand while retaining our awareness of the wider context.

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Economic Development and Conservation in Africa with Special Reference to the Southern African Development Community(SADC)

Theme

Economic Development and Conservation in Africa with Special Reference to the Southern African Development Community(SADC)

Goal

Africa has been undergoing a major transformation in recent years. The world has witnessed Africa’s spectacular growth [in apparent contradiction of][beyond] its redundant and stereotyped image of poverty, hunger, internal strife and economic reliance on mining resources. In fact, in last 10 years, among ten [rapidly growing]emerging countries, seven are located in Africa. Between 2002 and 2011, the rate of economic growth in Sub-Saharan nations was 5.8 percent, surpassing the global average of 3.8 percent.
It is of vital importance to identify and develop the best possible policies, including the legal infrastructure, in order to enhance foreign direct investment (FDI) and technology transfer.
This will assist equitable innovative socio-economic development in Africa along with appropriate natural resource management, resulting in conservation of the natural environment and improvements to the quality of life of the African people.

This trans disciplinary research project focuses on an analysis of the economic policies and legal infrastructure of four countries in the SADC region: South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania and Botswana. The analysis covers natural resource management, biodiversity strategy, academia-industry relations, FDI, technology transfers and intellectual property management in light of the post Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the sustainable development of the SADC. Japan’s economic involvement and ODA engagement with Africa are reviewed with reference to the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).

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Research Group on “Sound Financial Status and Public Sector Accounting Reform”

Theme

The New Public Sector Accounting as a tool to Promote the Soundness of Public Finance by Local Governments in Kansai Economy..

Goal

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications had required that for the three years starting from 2015 up to 2017, all local public enterprises prepare, as a rule, their financial documents under uniform standards, and make active use of them in budgeting. So, the public sector accounting reform has come into practice at last, after more than 25 years of discussions. In these years, the capital district Tokyo has introduced its own unique accounting system, achieving a sound public finance. On the other hand, the financial status got worse in Osaka Prefecture and many of its local governments. Also the voters rejected the Osaka Metropolis Project referendum.

That is the reason why, at this moment it is necessary to research on the sound financial status of Local Governments in the Kansai Economy including Osaka. So, we decided to start our research program to respond to these needs. At Kansai University, we have already invited personnel of the nearby Local Governments and given support for the promotion of the reform on accounting for the public sector, which is the primary urgent topic. Under these circumstances, we felt that was necessary to set up a Research Group at the Institute of Economic and Political Studies, in order to be able to give support in preparing the accounting system by 2017.

More precisely, strengthen our cooperation with Osaka Prefecture, Osaka city, Suita city, Itami city, Ikeda city, Izumisano city, etc. because we think it is our duty to give support to these cities in achieving a sound public finance, and introducing the new public sector accounting system for Local Governments.

In short, our research objective will be to give support for the introduction of the new public sector accounting leaded by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, and in cooperation with local governments in the nearby, try to find a solution for achieving a sound financial status.

English