According to the empirical study by Leuz and Oberholzer-Gee 2006, there is a trade-off between political connections and foreign financing for well-connected firms. Such a dualistic trade-off, however, does not take into consideration the dynamics of a company’s internal structure. This paper takes the case of the Bakrie Group, one of Indonesia’s most powerful business groups, to investigate how such dynamics also influence a firm’s behavior. Since its foundation in 1942, the Bakrie Group has grown as a prominent indigenous, or Pribumi, business group, developing businesses in wide range of sectors such as steel and mineral resources under Suharto’s authoritarian regime. After the Group reorganized enormous debts caused by the Asian Economic Crisis in 1997–98, the founder’s eldest son, Aburizal Bakrie, emerged on the Indonesian political stage, and with his political support the Bakrie Group experienced rapid growth. The Bakrie family has continued to dominate the Group’s management, making sure that the “independent” commissioners mandated by corporate governance reform in 1999 were in fact Bakrie supporters. After the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, the politically connected group co-founded an international coal mining investment company, Bumi Plc., with Nathaniel Rothschild, a British financial tycoon, and listed it on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), which requires a high standard of corporate governance. This effort was led by a team of professional management personnel within the company in an attempt to improve the Group’s governance. But, after listing on the LSE, the Bakrie family, using financial means, exploited minority shareholders within Bumi Plc. and withdrew from the new LSE-listed company using their business connections. Those shareholders—businesses that shared common interests with the Bakries—clearly impeded accurate corporate governance procedures. The case therefore illustrates that political connections and international finance are not always in a trade-off but, depending on the dynamics within a business group, can be compatible. After observing the conflict within the Bakrie Group, a technocratic minister in the government suggested revising Indonesia’s corporate governance standards, admitting there had been a “government failure” and urging more pressure for reform. Introducing more strict regulations to screen each independent commissioner is therefore needed.
During the 2000s, grass-root xenophobic movements have developed in East Asian countries. In Japan, many groups calling themselves “Conservatives In Action” and within them, the core group called “Zaitokukai” have been criticized by many people for their use of hate speech. Counter-protesters have fought them not only on the street but also on the internet. The radicalization of mass media discourse has been identified by critics. For example, “Book Lovers Against Racism” (BLAR) condemns publications containing xenophobic figures as “hate books.” Influenced by those books, Conservatives In Action and Zaitokukai have developed their own mass media organization and discourse. Although people criticize the current trend of books that contain bitter criticisms of China, South Korea, and North Korea as “hate books,” such labeling tends to obfuscate the differences between Old and New Conservative media. In fact, while New Conservative media uses hate speech as an “effective measure,” many Old Conservative media sources criticize the practice. This paper explores the magazine Japanism as an example of New Conservative media speech. Seirindo, the publisher of Japanism, has published books by former Zaitokukai leader Makoto Sakurai. His books were meant to encourage the Conservatives In Action and Zaitokukai. This paper also compares the perspectives of Old Conservative media, using the example of Seiron, with those of New Conservative media, using the example of Japanism, to explore the respective views of Old and New Conservative media on China, South Korea, and North Korea. Some critics believe views expressed by Old and New conservative media exist in different methodologies but are based on the same idea. This paper reveals that their differences exist not only in their methodologies but also in their ideas. Specifically, while their perspectives on China are similar, their perspectives on South Korea and North Korea are quite different. Before the main analysis, this paper follows the long-term change of the social movement led by Zaitokukai to focus on the initial split of the two conservative groups. After that, several specific differences between Old and New Conservative media are discussed.
Some Americans such as Samuel Robbins Brown, Birdsey G. Northrop, and John Hopkins Twichell in late 19th century New England had early contacts with both Chinese and Japanese students. These discoveries led the author to consider the necessity of further pursuing study into (1) the activities of missionaries and intellectuals who had contacts with both Japanese and Chinese students aspiring to learn from the west, and (2) the contacts and relationships between Japanese and Chinese overseas students. This paper firstly clarifies the background and footsteps regarding relationships between Americans and Japanese/Chinese overseas students, then examines whether Japanese and Chinese students themselves built up interactions and friendships through their network of American acquaintances, schools and local communities, and finally makes comparisons from family backgrounds to careers of 21 Japanese and 21 Chinese students studying at Yale University in the period 1870–1887. The students of these two countries were studied because their similar experiences as overseas students may provide important insights to why Japan and China took different paths in their modernization, a topic the author has had continuous academic interest in. This paper also intends, as the first step in a comparative study of modernization processes in Japan and China, to find out whether Japanese and Chinese students studying at Yale University in the same period set off from similar starting points. In conclusion, the ground was set for communication between Japanese and Chinese students in second-half 19th century New England, but deeper interaction and solidarity did not seem to have grown between them. Moreover, although China fell far behind Japan in modernization, both countries had overseas students who had the same western training under the same environment at the start.