Research Outline

This planned research will take a position that the mechanism of various political and economic regional integration bodies in the international community is not simple intergovernmental integration. It is aimed both at clarifying trends in global society, including in upper systems, such as international institutions, civil society, supra-national networks and others, and in how the sub-systems, consisting of diverse values within the state entity, affect regional integration among countries.

With a background of regional integration, which has become a global trend since the late 1990s, it is obvious that globalization and interdependence relationships in the economic field are deepening, but, in addition, coordinating functions among the countries within the region were expected to function as a mechanism for resolving regional conflicts. It is a prerequisite of the research to grasp the state of such economic and political integration functions of various regional integrations, such as the EU, ASEAN, and APEC, and analyze their economic and political roles, but, on that basis, this study aims to construct a new analytical framework that can analyze regional integration economically and politically. We think that in the hierarchical structure of upper systems (macro), state entities (meso), and sub-systems (micro), these systems will interact with each other beyond their position in the structure. At the same time, we also focus on the resonance between the state entity and the sub-systems, how regional integration responds to crime and terrorism through a cross-regional network, and the efforts to establish new regional security systems.

In this study, which focuses on the hierarchical structure of regional integration, we will conduct our research with three research groups interactively: (a) focus on the economic side (Ishido, Hatasa), (b) focus on civil society (Suzuki, Mizushima), and (c) focus on crime and security (Ochiai, Ikeda).

Specifically, in group (a), we deal with regional integration through economic networks, by taking examples in Asia, such as ASEAN and APEC, and by extracting representative qualities from both inside the areas of regional economic integration and the international economic relationships among the multiple regional economic integration zones. Also, based on a statistical analysis of company data and careful field surveys, we will take hold of the role of "heterogeneity."

In group (b), we will analyze cases from the perspective of political science by Suzuki in Malaysia and by Mizushima in the EU. Mizushima, in particular, looks at what influence external factors, such as the refugee problem and tense relations with Russia, have on the EU (a regional integration body) and each member state (state entities).

In group (c), Ochiai analyzes the African drug trade network and the existence of the regional cooperation system against it, while Ikeda analyzes the state of the reorganization of the Middle East regional security system as related to the Syrian civil war and the civil war in Yemen.

Regarding their research method, Ishido and Hatasa are collecting and analyzing various economic statistics, such as unlisted company information, published corporate information, and data from the United Nations statistical bureau from the viewpoint of economics. Suzuki, Mizushima, and Ikeda visit the research area to interview and collect historical information on political / social elites from a political science point of view. Ochiai conducts precise interview surveys on social facilities, such as regional communities and hospitals in Africa from the viewpoint of political anthropology.