Greeting by Representative


Sonobe Tetsushi
National Graduate Institute For Policy Studies

    The spectacular rise of emerging states, such as China, India, Brazil, and Indonesia, has led to their increased influence on international politics and economy. It does not necessarily follow, however, that things are proceeding well in these countries. They face major policy challenges including the widening income and education gaps, an increasing need to build social safety nets to protect the weak, and the reconciliation of social and political interests. Inappropriate responses to such challenges could lead these states to the middle-income trap or the end of growth before joining the ranks of high-income countries, which would give rise to public dissatisfaction with politics.
   Since the destabilization of these states would have tremendous impacts on the world, the international community needs to consider countermeasures based on a clear understanding of the dynamism of politics and economies in emerging states. Yet we have only partial knowledge because few attempts have been made to comprehensively explore such emerging states. This is why we have proposed this collaborative project among researchers of politics, economics, history, and area studies to conduct a thorough study of emerging states from micro, macro, and global points of view.

   We begin by better understanding gemba, the places where firms produce goods and services, individuals consume them and elect policy makers, and policies are implemented by central and local government bodies. We will visit gemba to collect and analyze data on infrastructure development, education, and technology adoption which hold the key to the successful development of emerging states. In so doing, this study sheds light on socio-political factors such as patronage politics, local communities and other social networks and administrative capacity, which would affect policy impacts but are missing in existing empirical studies.
   We will also take a global perspective in conducting comparative history analyses to investigate how emerging states accomplish state building and economic development in the framework of an international order and how their development reshapes the framework, by comparing different emerging states as well as former and future emerging states.    
   We will also conduct political economy analysis at the state level examining how the state addresses the problems that society faces and what determines the efficacy of policy. This approach will be applied especially to the issues of the middle-income gap and social safety nets.
   By combining these three approaches, namely, empirical analysis, comparative history, and political economy with the perspectives of gemba, states, and the world, we try to gain a systematic understanding of emerging states.

    First, the project will pioneer a new research field by attempting the world’s first comprehensive study of emerging states. Each part of the project is expected to produce high-quality research output, and the analysis of interactions among gemba, state, and international order will attract international attention and constitute a solid achievement. 
    Second, the sharing of research perspectives will help respective disciplines improve their methodologies. Hopefully the young researchers nurtured in this project will develop innovative research approaches by acquiring an interdisciplinary mindset.
    Third, we will produce a theory based on the empirical findings of case studies and comparisons, which we expect is applicable to current and would-be emerging states with different backgrounds and is useful in prescribing policies toward the sustainable development of these states, Japan’s foreign policies, and economic policies which boost the ripple effects of the expanding emerging markets around the world.