Research 2006

A book on social issues in Vietnam (Sep. 2006)--Mr. Giang Thanh Long (VDF Tokyo/GRIPS) and Ms. Duong Kim Hong (VDF Hanoi) are the co-editors of a book on Vietnam's social issues which will be published in two languages, English and Vietnamese, in early 2007. The book will contain recent studies by VDF researchers and outside scholars, and cover changing families and values, street children, internal migration, social securities, HIV/AIDS, and so on.

A study on supporting industries (Sep. 2006)--VDF Tokyo and VDF Hanoi are conducting a study on supporting industries (industries that supply material inputs to assembly-type industries such as automobiles and electronics) for policy makers and researchers. Vietnam is a latecomer in East Asian dynamism and, like other ASEAN countries, lacks supporting industries needed for international competitiveness. The Vietnamese government is in the early stage of learning about and promoting supporting industries. We are compiling a book (English and Vietnamese) to provide practical and policy-oriented information about this issue. Expected publication is early 2007. Contributors include Ms. Nguyen Thi Xuan Thuy (concepts and human resources), Mr. Junichi Mori (database construction), and Mr. Ngo Duc Anh (theoretical review).

Dr. Umesao's historical vision in Vietnamese (Sep. 2006)--Dr. Tadao Umesao (1920-) is a renowned scholar in comparative culture and anthropology, who presented his unique world history vision in the 1950s. Mr. Nguyen Duc Thanh, one of my PhD students, and his friend Mr. Bui Nguyen Anh Tuan, have translated his classic book, An Ecological View of History (Japanese original, 1967; English translation 2003) into Vietnamese. The book will soon be published by Vietnam National University. Dr. Umesao's vision, also discussed in my Economic Development of Japan, considers Japan and Western Europe as two unique regions that could develop cumulatively and continuously without being destroyed by violent outsiders, and had internally created necessary conditions for industrialization.

COE Conference with Tokyo University (July 2006)--GRIPS and Tokyo Univ. jointly sponsored a half-day symposium on "Industrialization of Developing Countries and Japan's Involvement" at GRIPS on July 13. The two universities are currently executing highly-evaluated Center of Excellence (COE) research programs on the dynamics of manufacturing industries. Takahiro Fujimoto (photo, Tokyo Univ), renowned expert on business architecture theory, identified architectural properties of various countries such as Japan, US, EU, China, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, India, etc. and suggested needed strategy for each. Based on his policy work in Vietnam, Kenichi Ohno (GRIPS) urged the country to become Japan's integral manufacturing partner. Tomofumi Amano (Hosei/Tokyo Univ) analyzed agglomeration of HDD industry in Southeast Asia and emphasized the importance of corporate strategy and government policy. Keijiro Otsuka and Tetsushi Sonobe (GRIPS/FASID) explained the common 3-stage pattern of industrialization in developing countries and proposed measures to accelerate it.

Joint Working Group for drafting the motorbike master plan in Vietnam (June 2006)--The Vietnam Development Forum (VDF) led by Prof. Ohno has become a coordinator among the Ministry of Industry (MOI), producers, and experts, in drafting Vietnam's motorbike master plan. This will be the first attempt in Vietnam to draft an industrial master plan openly by close consultation among all stakeholders. This new method was proposed by VDF after reviewing the experiences of other countries, and accepted by MOI. The Vietnam-Japan Joint Initiative Phase 2, a bilateral official program to improve Vietnam's business conditions, has decided to create the Joint Working Group for drafting this master plan and designated VDF to be the coordinator. Introduction of new methodology and procedure to replace old ones may cause uncertainty and frustration. Time allowed for drafting this master plan is also limited. VDF will try to mobilize as many stakeholders as possible, ensure quality and solve institutional problems as they arise.  JWG webpage

Mori Thuy Oka

Mori, Thuy and Oka come to GDF (May 2006)--Mr. Junichi Mori, MBA from the Fletcher School, Tufts University, USA,, and Ms. Nguyen Thi Xuan Thuy, MA from GRIPS and an official at Vietnam's Ministry of Industry, have joined the GRIPS Development Forum (GDF). They will conduct research on Vietnam's industrial policy. Separately, Ms. Chikako Oka, PhD candidate at the Development Studies Institute, London School of Economics, is with us as a visiting scholar until June 2006. She is conducting a survey-based study on Japanese ODA reform.

Japan's METI and Vietnam's MOI hold conference in Hanoi (May 2006)--The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) held a two-day conference to explain concrete purposes, procedures and institutions of industrial policy design and implementation in Japan and East Asia (Taiwan and Thailand). It was co-hosted by Vietnam's Ministry of Industry (MOI), the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), and Japan's Association for Overseas Technical Scholarship (AOTS). Prof. Akira Suehiro of Tokyo University (photo), a leading expert on East Asian industrialization, and other Japanese experts and officials, made presentations. Catch-up type industrialization, deliberation councils, automobile policy, industrial cluster policy, etc were presented in detail. This was the first time that two ministries in charge of industries in Japan and Vietnam cooperated. Since last year, I have been pushing both METI and MOI to do this in order to build closer bilateral policy cooperation. I hope that they will continue to cooperate more.  Summary

New GRIPS course on policy design and implementation (Mar. 2006)--The GRIPS Development Forum (GDF) is preparing a new course on policy design and implementation in developing countries, offered on a pilot basis in Autumn 2006 and officially from Spring 2007. This course tries to link research and education at GRIPS by presenting the latest results of GRIPS research for discussion and asking students to study the issues from the perspective of their own countries. Our focus will initially be East Asia but the scope will be expanded to all developing areas, including Africa, as data and information are gathered.

Industrial master plans for Vietnam (Mar. 2006)--The Vietnam Development Forum (VDF), a joint research program between GRIPS and Hanoi's National Economics University, is assisting Vietnam's Ministry of Industry in drafting a number of industrial master plans, including the supporting industry master plan, the motorbike master plan, and possibly the overall industrial master plan too. In addition to academic inputs, VDF links Japanese FDI firms with Vietnamese officials, and promotes coordination within the Vietnamese government as well as between the Vietnamese and Japanese government.

Economic Development of Japan (revised Mar. 2006)--This is the title of my new English book published by GRIPS Development Forum, and distributed free of charge for anyone seriously interested in this topic. The original book, in Japanese, was published in Feb. 2005 by Yuhikaku Publishing Company. In addition, Chinese translation is almost finished and will be published soon. Arabic translation is also in progress. preface to Chinese edition (English)

This book is actually my lecture notes at GRIPS for the course, Economic Development of Japan, which was given until 2004. It chronologically covers from the Edo period to the most recent period (bubble burst: 1990s to early 21st century). The course is based on the view that history progresses through an active interaction between domestic society and foreign inputs, and that how people, enterprises and policy makers respond to external shocks is essential. It introduces the research results of many Japanese scholars but presents them as simply and nontechnically as possible.