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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) BCM and East Asian Strategies of Family Businesses in 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) Development of Modern Kansai Economy and Its History of International Economic Relations with Asia and Africa
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.
BCM and East Asian Strategies of Family Businesses in Kansai
Business Continuity Management (BCM), Business Succession, and East Asian Strategies by Manufacturing Family Businesses (FB) in Kansai in a Post-coronavirus Era
In 2020 the global economy has been impacted by the novel coronavirus infectious disease. One lesson that ought to be learned by Japan's economic and political actors from the coronavirus pandemic is that business continuity management (BCM) and the diversification of supply chains are absolutely indispensable. There is the postulate that in a globally competitive society, products with minimal added-value are produced in low cost countries such as China. However, the coronavirus pandemic has brought to light the risk that as a result of relying on the single country of China to produce raw materials, materials, and parts, Japanese companies may be unable to exert their capabilities, even if domestic production sites are sound. Domestic production lines have been shut down when even a single part fails to arrive from China. From the lessons of natural disasters such as the Great East Japan Earthquake, Japan has enhanced its ability to respond to emergencies with a central focus on visualizing its supply chains and BCM. But now that it finds itself in unforeseen circumstances as a result of this infectious disease, it is incurring losses, lost earnings opportunities, and additional costs from disease countermeasures.
Under an idealized manner of thinking, there is the perception that in the future it would be better from a risk management perspective to procure parts with highly specialized characteristics and long lead-times from within Japan. Even in cases where parts with little in the way of specialized characteristics are procured from overseas, this should be dispersed over several Asian countries, and suppliers capable of producing replacement parts within Japan should be readied, even if their costs are higher. In such cases, inventories can be thought of as a lifeline in the period up until alternative suppliers can be found and recovery can be achieved when emergencies occur. This is the ideal line of reasoning, but realistically it will incur costs and take time. Given the realistic constraints versus the ideal, a paradigm shift will likely be needed.
The challenge that has been thrust before Japan's economic and political actors against this backdrop is the question of how to deal adeptly with China, which is the world’s second largest economic powerhouse, in the future while at the same time coping with the risks of overconcentration on China that have been thrown into relief by the coronavirus pandemic, and deploying an East Asia-focused strategy of business continuity and succession. The objective of this series of studies is to study this question and offer societal proposals for it.
For this research strategy to prove successful, it will be necessary to narrow the focus in a precise manner. Therefore, this will not be research that is just slanted towards China alone, but will also focus on South Korea and Taiwan as well (research risk dispersal). The scope of Japanese companies is overly expansive, so the focus of the research will be restricted to manufacturing family businesses in Kansai (concentration of research resources). In addition, research proposals will be provided on modalities for business continuity management (BCM) and supply chains to ensure that this can contribute to reestablishing sustainability and safety management for companies that have experienced risks from the coronavirus pandemic (instantiating the research). BCM does not just carry connotations of business continuity in response to disasters, but also of business continuity as a shared challenge for family businesses in Kansai, many of which are small and medium-sized enterprises (combining research resources). BCM, which encompasses family businesses, business continuity, and infectious diseases, is an area of research that is required by the times (social contribution).
Research on Citizens’ Attitudes toward Self-help, Mutual Assistance, and Public Support in Japan
Empirical Studies of Citizens’ Attitudes toward Self-help, Mutual Assistance, and Public Support
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.
Research Group on Exhibitions and Tourism
Research on events and tourisms which contribute to a sustainable development of local society in the age of globalization
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.
“Paradigm change by computerization” research group
Research on the change of paradigm by computerization and its correspondence
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.
Consensus Formations and Institutions
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.
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.
Development of Modern Kansai Economy and Its History of International Economic Relations with Asia and Africa
Considering the Modern Kansai Economy from the International Relationship between Japan and Asia and Africa
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.