Head of Social Science Section
Since May 2001(Researchers, May 1, 2001 - May 31, 2006)
Politics and the Internet in Japan – Use of the Internet by Civil Society Players.This research project of the DIJ social science division is concerned with the influence of the Internet on Japanese politics. Within this framework, the strategies of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in using new technologies to present their positions and to further their interests are researched. The study also asks whether this use of the Internet is effective and whether the Internet changes politics and democracy in Japan.
To date, the individual research projects have included: the use of homepages and Internet strategies by various players in the so-called textbook controversy of 2001; the use of new technologies by very small citizens’ groups; and the Internet strategies of NGO umbrella organisations in Japan, Germany, and Korea. Comparative aspects of the work have been presented in a number of events, such as a DIJ Workshop and panels at international conferences, and in publications.
Trans-National Learning between Civil Society Organisations.This is a project set in the context of the “Germany in Japan Year” 2005/6. It studies the trans-national communication between CSOs in Japan and Germany, taking environmental organisations as a case study. Two of the questions addressed are: “How are Germany, and the different German environmental players, presented in the Japanese environmental discourse?” and “Is there a potential for reciprocal learning between CSOs in this field?”
Japanese Foreign Policy with a Focus on Asia.In spite of the close proximity—or possibly because of it—Japan’s relations with other Asian countries is rather tense. This is largely due to historical issues and Japan’s dealing with these issues. By comparison, economic or security considerations would appear to be more “substantial” factors in Japan’s foreign policy, and yet they are often shaped by those “soft issues”. This becomes particularly clear in relations between Japan and other Asian countries. In this context, the importance of international sports events for the formation or a regional Asian identity was considered in several DIJ events and publications.
Japanese-Korean Relations and Intra-Korean Relations.Japan’s relationship with the Korean peninsula is a prime example of Japan’s difficult relations with its neighbours. In spite of many links and similarities, the interpretation of (colonial) history remains a sore point between Japan and South Korea. The intra-Korean differences and related security issues add to the difficulties. The textbook issue and trans-national exchange at the grassroots level have been covered in several presentations and DIJ publications (see, for example, Ducke / Saaler 2003).
Isa Ducke is one of the co-ordinators of the DIJ Social Science Study Group, a forum for young scholars and PhD candidates in the field of Social Sciences.