Recent years have seen an increase in the role of civil society in policymaking aimed at addressing global issues such as poverty, human rights, environmental problems, and conflicts beyond the borders of the nation, despite the principle of nonintervention. Civil society is clearly playing a major role in global governance. What is “civil society”? There have been many definitions of civil society from ancient Greece to the present. However, I would like to define it as “the public area oriented to the citizen, independent of government and market.” It then tries to participate in the decision-making process in support of humanitarian interests. Therefore, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), Non-Profit Organizations (NPO), Civil Society Organizations, and other organizations with the aforementioned purposes are included as part of civil society. I am focusing on the Asian NGO network for democratization, and discuss the civil society movement with respect to the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), in particular. ASEAN has maintained a policy of nonintervention known as the “ASEAN Way,” under the leadership of Track I governments. However, the role of civil society is increasing in the field of human rights and democratization. One NGO, ANFREL (Asian Network for Free and Fair Elections), has worked on the problems of capacity building for voter education, voting procedures, and election laws aiming at the 2010 general elections in Myanmar. Although the 2012 by-election had inadequate operations, ANFREL perceived an improvement in this election and is targeting the 2015 general election for perfect civil society participation. Peacebuilding NGOs also play an important role in the resolution of Asian conflicts such as the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) in Aceh and International Monitoring Teams with local NGOs in Mindanao. Finally, I would like to conclude by saying that the goal of realizing justice, equality, fairness is shared all over the world. Therefore, global civil society makes efforts to complete the common agenda in cooperation with civil society across borders. On the other hand, we have to respect Asian values, culture, and history as “subsistence” which Ivan Illich emphasizes for development. Moreover, we have to consider the balance between endogenous conception from Asia and external ideas from the West. This volume contains 8 articles focusing on the challenges of civil society which confronts and engages with governments and markets because it aims at international peace and international welfare.
The concept of civil society has changed throughout history and across regions: its meaning shifted in Europe from “political society” in the 16th century to “civilized society” in the 18th century, while in 1930s Japan, the concept was understood as “capitalist society.” The current article suggests a new kind of civil society is emerging, a civil society that attempts not only to influence the state in a pro-active manner, but also to transcend the governance framework imposed by the state. It does so by examining local activism in Japan's Boderlands: (1) the Nemuro District (Nemuro City, Betsukai, Shibetsu, Nakashibetsu and Rausu Towns) close to the Northern Territories currently governed by Russia, (2) Wakkanai City near Sakhalin, a Russian territory, (3) Thushima City in close proximity to South Korea, and (4) the Yaeyama District (Ishigaki City, Taketomi and Yonaguni Towns) adjoining Taiwan. Geographically, these regions are all in the periphery, far away from the central government and directly exposed to Japan's neighboring countries. In terms of their politico-economic power as well, they constitute the periphery, to use the language of the World-Systems Theory, while the central and prefectural governments occupy the positions of the core and semi-periphery, respectively. Japan's borderlands have been faced with twin economic challenges since the Koizumi government years (2001–2006): on the one hand, they are suffering from reduced supports from the central government (their local governments receive various subsidies in accordance with special measures acts designed to sustain their economic viability), and on the other hand, they are witnessing rapid economic developments in its neighboring countries (Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China). For these borderlands, then, a logical solution for prosperity in this situation is to seek closer economic relationships with the neighboring countries; yet, Japan's national border regulations in the areas of customs, immigration, and quarantine would hinder that. Accordingly, local civil organizations and local governments in the four cases under study are seeking changes in the border regulations set and controlled by the central government. Although technically speaking, local governments could not be part of civil society, in each case under study, the local government and civil organizations operate as one unit, in their common struggle against the central government and its framework of border regulations. Thus, analytically, these cases can be conceptualized as cases of civil society. By highlighting the challenges and struggles of Japan's borderlands, the article opens up a new avenue to revise the concept of civil society, yet once again to reflect the ever-changing realities of citizen politics.
This article tries to re-examine the role and limits of civil society such as NGOs, religious organizations, and local civil associations on North Korean issues. Since the mid 1990s, North Korea is facing serious complex emergencies caused by both natural and man-made disasters, and as a result, the international community has been taking various actions from humanitarian assistance to advocacy on human rights issues. The case of North Korean defectors is one of these matters, in which together with state actors and international agencies, civil society plays a pivotal role. Therefore, I will attempt to focus on the role and limits of civil society from the viewpoint of International Relations. It is often said that the role of civil society in authoritarian regimes is rather more limited than in democratic societies or than that of state actors. However, the case study proves that civil society can play an important role in field operations and advocacy for helping North Korean defectors. Indeed, without civil society playing a role, field operations cannot be implemented or accomplished systematically at all. In other words, we can conclude that without civil society involvement, North Korean defectors can neither be rescued, nor protected in safe conditions, and moreover they will not be able to resettle in South Korea or in other third countries after arrival in safe areas. As the case of South Korean civil society shows, civil society actors often experience political obstacles when their policy does not meet with their governments'; however, even in such cases, transnational NGO networks can remove or ease those barriers, and promote the integration of North Korean defectors at the field level. The North Korean defector issue is often treated as a political one, requiring defectors to be labelled as refugees, migrants, or illegal cross-borderers according to the interests of stake holders. However, I would like to point out that this issue should be understood within broader perspectives and multidimensional approaches. We should bear in mind that the North Korean defector issue cannot be solved if it is dealt with only as a political concern. Adding to the above findings, I would like to mention that civil society actors, especially religious organizations and NGOs, should be concerned with the risks faced by defectors when collaborating with brokers, because using brokers may cause other serious related problems, such as the risk of human trafficking for example. Also, civil society should keep in mind that their activities may endanger the security of defectors, especially in China. This study does not cover the status of resettled defectors in Europe, North America and so on, thus further study is urgently necessary for a better understanding and resolution of the matter of North Korean defectors.
Civil society, in Chinese usually translated as “gongmin shehui” (公民社会), has developed steadily in recent years. Social media has facilitated active discussion on gongmin shehui and concrete actions for social change, although the existing political system restricts freedom of expression and freedom of belief. However, the invigoration of social media has embraced the contradiction of granting particular cases exceptions of not following formal procedures established in laws. At the same time, it has provided the state with momentum of strengthening its functions of security means and information control, and as a result has impeded progress of judicial reform and democratization. After having a brief overview on the development of gongmin shehui, this paper looks at the noticeable trend of social media movement in the 2000s. Topics discussed include criticism of corrupt officials, protests against environmental devastation, and roles of intellectuals such as lawyers. In aiming at compensating for the deficit of current systems, lawyers launched what they call “yingxiangxing susong” (影響性訴訟influential lawsuits). They have also participated in a civil investigation team to do an independent inquiry on a mysterious incident, and voice oppositions against violation of due process and legalization of “jianshi juzhu” (監視居住residential surveillance known informally as “soft detention”). Being stimulated through the surge of social media, the increasing desire of civilian participation has grown into a new type of social movement. Such internet-based “unofficial democracy” has produced opportunistic and extreme discourses in large volume. Furthermore, it has been difficult to overturn the status quo because political and economic elites at the core of the Chinese society are generally not very positive in accelerated social transformation. It is considered that economic disparities, communitarianism, and colonial history have hindered the advancement of liberal democracy in China, as is demonstrated in other Asian countries experiences. Yet the sweeping trend of civil society in China has gradually built the foundation for liberal democracy. The last section of this paper argues that gongmin shehui is a key element of democracy, and that they are mutually and intimately interrelated. Although the Chinese governing structure named “China Model” has gained prominence recently, such an authoritarian political system might come under pressure to make a drastic change with slowdown of economic growth, changes in international relations and greater engagement of political and economic elites in social issues.
Why did the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) establish its first regional human rights mechanism, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), and in what ways did non-state actors, such as regional civil society actors, affect the state-centric ASEAN decision-making for the AICHR's establishment? To provide answers to these questions, it is imperative to grasp the complex interactions among regional track 2, think-tank- and university-based networks, regional track 3 human rights non-governmental organizations and civil society actors vis-à-vis track 1 ASEAN body. This study illuminates the networking cooperation among track 2 and 3 actors within the context of the multi-track style of human rights governance in ASEAN. The concept of “horizontal dialogue” among them is employed in this study to help us understand this networking style of politics. This horizontal networking encapsulated the social life of these actors: they simultaneously engage with contention and deliberation to achieve their objectives of making ASEAN “people-oriented” at the time when ASEAN began drafting the ASEAN Charter in 2006 and writing the Terms of Reference (TOR) for subsequent regional human rights mechanisms in 2008. This paper empirically traces and compares the two most influential track 3 civil society actors in the horizontal networking politics against the background of these historical junctures for ASEAN. The Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism (WGAHRM), based in Manila, was established in 1995 to materialize ASEAN's consideration of establishing a regional human rights mechanism. The Solidarity for Asian People's Advocacy (SAPA), a loose coalition of center-leftist ideological NGOs and civil society actors, was formed in 2006, the same year that ASEAN nominated the Eminent Persons Group for creating a Charter. The WGAHRM pursued “public-private partnership” in its advocacy strategy, to graft the 2004 Vientiane Action Programme onto a regional human rights mechanism that ASEAN seemed to lack both willingness and expertise to create. In contrast, in pursuing its more ambitious objectives, the SAPA mobilized what might be termed as a “counter-power initiative” toward ASEAN. Both actors capitalized on the track 2 venues created by the ASEAN-Institute of International Studies since 1990s onwards, directly talked with ASEAN officials, and hosted a series of workshops and conferences to articulate their advocacies. This paper demonstrates that the WGAHRM's PPP advocacy functioned better, but at the same time, it posits a third type of advocacy—the ASEANstyle “Trojan Horse” that brought core key persons from regional civil society organizations to advance the AICHR's human rights promotion agendas. Yet in a formative phase, the composition of the AICHR may hold a key to filling a void in the TOR of the AICHR—the human rights protection activities- by linking the body with like-minded regional civil society actors.
As a county in transiton to the market economy, Vietnam seems to keep political stability under the communist party government. However, criticism of the party monopoly has been activated by citizens, mostly by intellectuals of urban middle class that have developed for the last few decades under the market economy. This article examins Vietnamese citizens' objections concerning with territorial disputes with China and large-scale projects of bauxite mining and alumina production in the south-central highland initiated by a Chinese company to consider the development of civil society in this country. From the beginnig of 21 century Vietnamese citizens have formed a lot of organizations such as political parties, non-governmental organizations and unions of industrial workers or farmers independent of the communist government in order to achieve their civil and political rights. Though the government corresponded to the dissidents taking various measures as well as arresting, incrimination and imprisonment, citizens' critical campaigns upsurged over the two issues above. At the beginning the campaigns were based on emotional anti-China nationalism. However they developed thereafter into the question of transparency and accountability in the policy making of their own government. After the problems concerned with bauxite mining projects were revealed, Vietnamese citizens started to pay attention to the environmental governance with civil participation. Consequently, their activities had a certain influence on the process of policy making and legislation under the one-party regime.
The purpose of this research is to analyse the roles of civil societies in natural resource management in post-conflict Timor-Leste. The research focuses how customary law and community associations have taken prominent roles in natural resource management in post-conflict Timor-Leste. Timor-Leste became independent in May 2002, ending Indonesian occupation. Independence shed light on the country's environmental problems, which is a result of natural resource exploitation for short-term profit during the history of the colonization and occupation. Driven by the urgent need for restoration, the community association's movement to re-establish customary law on natural resource management became active following the independence. The independent government supported the movement, for various practical and political reasons. For the new government, natural resource management by community association based on the customary law was not only a cost-effective way to manage natural resources, but also adhered to the political impetus to support local participation and ownership by making the policies explicitly different from that of the Indonesian administration. During the nation-building process, Timor-Leste integrated the customary law into state legislation. This study demonstrates that when governmental capacity is limited in a post-conflict situation, environmental policies that the UN implements in cooperation with the government can fail to achieve the desired effect. In Timor-Leste, gaps were identified between policies on the one hand and, on the other, actual conditions in the community, capacity limitations related to law enforcement, and structural problems such as a lack of human resources. Although the government has needed time to establish effective environmental policy and to take efficient measures, community associations started to revitalize the Tara Bandu customary law and to manage natural resources by local methods fairly soon after the conflict. The newly established government had limited capacity and faced difficulty in managing natural resources effectively when it was not relying on community association and customary law. For natural resource management to be improved quickly, it was imperative for the state to engage local knowledge and practice, and to promote community's participation and ownership. The use of customary law was a way to address the urgent agenda of the transitional government. Under this situation, the government has begun incorporating customary law into various other national policies.
The twentieth-first century ushered in a new era for combating trafficking in persons (TIP). The UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children of 2000 has provided the first ever internationally agreed definition of TIP, as part of transnational organized crime activities. As the protocol criminalizes TIP, it has encouraged nations and the international society to prevent and prosecute cases of TIP as well as to protect the victims. After the protocol, international and scholarly discourse of TIP has shifted its focus towards the rights of victims, as opposed to combating TIP. In this context, states that are signatories to the protocol are required to incorporate the human rights aspect of TIP into their domestic legislation. Making anti-trafficking legislation cannot be done without effective engagements of transnational advocacy network. Not only NGOs, labor unions and civil society, but also national, international and regional organizations may take part in the transnational advocacy network. With regard to campaign against TIP, transnational advocacy network along with the US government and its agencies have played significant roles in the legislation process of developing nations such as Indonesia. With the support from the US Agency for International Development, American Center for International Labor Solidarity, International Catholic Migration Commission and other international NGOs, Indonesian NGOs, labor unions and civil society have engaged in counter-TIP activities. Producing nation-wide research and survey on TIP, they successfully socialized the issue of TIP in Indonesia. In the national legislation process for anti-trafficking law in 2006, Jaringan Kerja Prolegnas Pro-Perempuan (Network for Pro-Women National Legislation) publicly campaigned on the issues, lobbied politicians as well as political parties that were involved in the legislation process, and evidently proposed critical suggestions and alterations to the original bill. Thanks to their effort, Indonesia's 2007 anti-trafficking law has more protective elements for victims of TIP than originally planned by the lawmakers.
This paper analyzes the process and consequence of efforts made by Southern NGOs which have been trying to change the government-NGO relations and the North-South NGO relations with a focus on a Cambodian NGOs case. The government-NGO relations in the field of development had changed during 1990s since more ODA began to flow to NGOs. Most of DAC countries experienced this trend and they sought partnership with NGOs to strengthen the relationship between government and NGOs. However, legal and political restrictions on NGOs have become stricter recently due to security reasons and shrinking of civil society space is pervasive across the global north and south. The North-South NGO relations had almost followed the same pattern. The partnership between Northern NGOs and Southern NGOs had been promoted during 80 s and 90 s. However, in terms of equal partnership, it became clear that the relationship was structurally unequal through time. Asian NGOs have made efforts to change the relationship in the process of aid-effectiveness discussion which has been led by OECE-DAC countries. In parallel with the process, NGOs formed a network called Open Forum which organized an extensive worldwide consultation process with thousands of NGOs to discuss the effectiveness of NGOs. Open Forum consolidated the discussion and developed the Istanbul principles and the “enabling environment”. The Istanbul Principles forms the basis for the effectiveness of NGO works and the “enabling environment” means the critical conditions which enable NGOs to produce the best performance. NGOs had done advocacy works to ask governments to endorse them and eventually the Istanbul principles and “enabling environment” were recognized by the outcome document of 4ht High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. Cambodian NGOs have been actively involved in developing the Istanbul Principles and “enabling environment” since they have faced difficulties to keep their activities as they had done before due to legal and political restrictions imposed by the government. Cambodian NGOs had tried to reflect their voice to the process of developing the Istanbul principles and the “enabling environment” to improve the environment surrounding NGOs in Cambodia. Cambodian NGOs also tried to solve the longstanding dispute over partnership between Northern and Southern NGOs. Northern NGOs have been criticized for lack of downwards accountability, that is, accountability to Southern NGOs, and Cambodian NGOs introduced an accountability system which required international and local NGOs working in a country to become more accountable and transparent. Northern NGOs recently became more aware of unequal relationship between Northern and Southern NGOs, and started to seek a solution.
It is well known that Hong Kong was ceded to Britain as a consequence of the Opium War. However, few people know that opium prepared for smoking (prepared opium) was retailed there legally until as late as the 1940s. Up to 1914 it was boiled in preparation for consumption and retailed by private merchants. As Hong Kong was a free port, prepared opium was an important source of tax revenue for the colonial government. However, due to the increasingly global anti-opium movement, from the beginning of the 20th century many countries sought to cooperate in order to control the traffic in opium and other narcotic drugs. An international commission, the first international attempt to this end, was held in Shanghai in 1909. After the First World War, the Advisory Committee on Traffic in Opium and other Dangerous Drugs—commonly referred to as the Opium Advisory Committee (OAC)—was established within the League of Nations. Influenced by this international development, the Hong Kong government established a new monopoly system and took charge of boiling and selling prepared opium in 1914. During the inter-war period it became necessary for the British government to coordinate its opium policy in the eastern colonies with its foreign policy towards the League of Nations. Focusing upon the International Opium Commission to the Far East, proposed by Britain and sent by the League, and two international conferences on opium related to the commission, one in Geneva in 1924–25 and the other in Bangkok in 1931, this paper examines the inter-relationship between opium policy in Hong Kong and British foreign policy towards the League of Nations. The activities of the OAC were a source of pressure on the British government as it decided its opium policy in the eastern colonies. However, during discussions on the Far Eastern Commission recommendations, the Hong Kong government succeeded in convincing the home government of the difficulty of strengthening the control of opium to the extent the Commission suggested. The British government worked with other participants to water down the Commission's proposals in the Bangkok Conference and the outcome was much weaker than the Commission advocated. The significance of the international cooperation under the League lies in the fact that the colonial powers realized the importance of justifying their opium policies in the international arena. However the two opium conferences held in Geneva and Bangkok did not result in a dramatic change in opium policy in Hong Kong. It was as late as 1943 that the British government finally decided to stop selling opium in Hong Kong, which was then under Japanese rule.
This article discusses the difficulty to keep cooperation in a multilateral bargaining situation by introducing my original game theory framework. Why do players sometimes fail to keep cooperating although they think it is desirable to do so? I analyze this question by applying an original game theory model based on the Zero-Sum n+1 Person Game of John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern, and I argue that it is important to acquire beliefs not only from the bargaining players but also from the third party of the bargaining. The characteristic of the Zero-Sum n+1 Person Game is that n-person players achieve to cooperate by charging the cost to the other player (the third party or player n+1), and player n+1 can show no strategy in this game. However, such a situation does not produce a hopeful result even if a gainful cooperation is constructed among the n-person players because the damaged player n+1 may try to change the situation and cause damage to the other players. The important question regarding this situation is what condition makes the third party resist their cooperation. To solve this problem, I expanded the Zero-Sum n+1 Person Game into an iterated game by applying the subjective probability (Bayes theorem) to measure the third party's trust in n-person players, the most important variable in this bargaining game. For the n-person players, keeping the third party's belief is one of the basic conditions to gain profit from the cooperation. N-person players' best reply is to keep charging the cost to the third party within the limits not to lose the third party's belief in each term. However, such a strategy is uncertain because they do not perfectly know the other players' subjective probability (the iterated Zero-sum n+1 Person Game is the imperfect information game). Therefore, preventing the third party's resistance is fundamentally difficult in this game situation. The effects of the simulation games applying the Markow chain verify my thesis. In many actual negotiations, n-person players tend to lose the trust of the third party before sufficient information is fully accumulated. That is, if a certain player charges costs to another player in order to maximize short-term interests, it may deteriorate the interests of those parties that have actually cooperated in the negotiation in the long run: in other words, they would have to consider the third party's interests “intentionally” in order to gain profit.