Professor Akaha is the author of Japan in Global Ocean Politics (1985) and the editor/co-editor of The U.S.-Japan Alliance: Balancing Soft and Hard Power in East Asia (2010), which won a Masayoshi Ohira Special Prize in 2011; Crossing National Borders: Human Migration Issues in Northeast Asia (2005); The Future of North Korea (2002); Politics and Economics in Northeast Asia: Nationalism and Regionalism in Contention (1999); Politics and Economics in the Russian Far East: Changing Ties with Asia-Pacific (1997); International Political Economy (1991); and Japan in the Posthegemonic World (1990). He is also a member of the editorial board of International Relations of the Asia-Pacific.
He has contributed numerous articles to such journals as the American Political Science Review, Journal of Asian Studies, Asian Survey, Pacific Review, Pacific Affairs, Pacific Focus, Asian Perspective, Journal of East Asian Studies, Journal of Asian and African Studies, Ecological Law Quarterly, Millennium, Peace Forum, Peace and Change, Brown Journal of World Affairs, East Asia Review, Politique étrangère, Mongolian Journal of International Affairs, Journal of Asiatic Studies, and Journal of Human Security.
His current research focuses on international migration and human security issues in East Asia, regionalism in East Asia, Russia and regional integration in East Asia, and post-3/11 Japan.
Professor Akaha's objective is to help students develop skills required for critical analysis of international policy and area studies, particularly in the Asia-Pacific context.
Japanese foreign and security policy, international relations of the Asia Pacific, international political economy, Asian studies, Asia-Pacific development, East Asia security, globalization, human rights, human security, international migration, international relations theory, Northeast Asia and security issues, US-Asia policy
- Completed a year-long contract with the Open Society Foundations to serve as an International Scholar for Smolny College at St. Petersburg State University, Russia.
- Gave an invited lecture “Russia’s Pivot to East Asia,” at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Stockholm, Sweden, May 27, 2013.
- Organized the annual conference of Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast at the Monterey Institute, June 7-9, 2013.
- Submitted a book manuscript, co-edited with Professor Vassilieva, on "Russia and East Asia: Increasing but Informal Integration" to Routledge, UK, to be published in December 2013.
- Elected to serve as President of Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast for a one-year term, 2013-14.
- Published: “Russia’s Mixed Prospects in Regional Integration in East Asia,” in “Expert Opinion,” School of Regional and International Relations, Far Eastern Federal University, Vladivostok, Russia, July 2013. http://ifl.wl.dvfu.ru/8323
PhD, MA, International Relations, University of Southern California; BA, Political Science, Oregon State University; BA, Political Science, Waseda University, Tokyo
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
IPMG 8593 - GP&SColoqiumComrclizeImpctInvs
GS&P Colloquium: Commercializing Impact Investing
Impact investments are investments made with the intention to generate measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. Impact investing complements public and philanthropic capitals in addressing pressing global problems. Although impact investing has the potential to unlock significant sums of commercial capital, the challenges to commercialization of impact investing are numerous and difficult. The struggle, however, may shed light on how capitalism as we know of today may be transformed. The spring 2015 Global Problem & Solution Colloquium will invite leading thinkers and practitioners in the sector to share with our students and faculty their perspectives and experiences in bridging the gap and explore and envision a better future together.
Spring 2013 - MIIS
IPOL 8562 - Human Security Issues
Spring 2012 - MIIS
IPOL 8630 - Sem: Human Security
The concept of "human security" was first introduced in the 1994 Human Development Report by the United Nations Development Program. It has since attracted growing attention in the academic and policy communities around the world. The concept has also become part of official policy, particularly in Japan and Canada. In contrast to the traditional concept of "national security" with its focus on the security of the state against military threats, "human security" emphasizes the protection of individual citizens’ security not only from war and other forms of physical violence but also from threats of a political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental nature. At the most fundamental level, “human security” is defined as "freedom from fear" and "freedom from hunger," but beyond that there are competing approaches to it, as well as critical challenges to it both as a concept and as a guide for national or international policy. This seminar critically examines the concept of human security, its real-world applications, and implications for international policy. Through a series of panel discussions, debates, and case studies, students will develop a firm understanding of the conceptual significance, analytical utility, and policy implications of human security. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Spring 2011 - MIIS
IPOL 8649 - Sem: Regionalism in NE Asia
"Northeast Asia," including China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, and Russia, has long been largely a geographic reference, not a political community, nor an economic unit. Historical factors and contemporary obstacles prevent the emergence of a regional identity among the peoples of this region. However, debate is intensifying among academic and policy communities in the region about the feasibility and desirability of building Northeast Asia as a region whose members share a common political, economic, and security agenda, as well as a collective identity. Some argue it is both desirable and possible, while others assert that it is desirable but not possible. Still others propose that Northeast Asian countries should become part of an East Asia community, which would include Southeast Asian nations, or part of an even larger Asia-Pacific community, including the United States and other North and South American countries on the Pacific rim. One of the central questions on which these arguments rest is the role of nationalism and regional cooperation over transnational problems in obstructing or fostering the development of a regional identity. This seminar will examine the critical tension between nationalism and regionalism in Northeast Asia, as well as the future architecture of the region.
Fall 2010 - MIIS, Fall 2012 - MIIS
IPSG 8501 / IPOL 8501 - Policy Analysis
This course introduces students to the theory and practice of policy analysis. Students will be introduced to the stages of the public policy process, including agenda setting, formulation, implementation, and evaluation. Students will also develop basic policy analysis skills, including problem structuring, stakeholder identification, summarization of current policy, development of policy options, elaboration of criteria for selection, and recommendation of course of action. These concepts are illustrated by examples policies that fall within students' range of interests. This course also introduces students to scientific methods that are used as a means for structuring policy inquiry. A series of research approaches and techniques are presented in the context of forecasting, monitoring, and evaluation for the analysis of domestic and international policies.
Spring 2012 - MIIS, Spring 2013 - MIIS
IPSG 8512 - Culture&InternationalRelations ▹
Culture in International Relations
What is “culture”? How do we know culture when we see it? How does it manifest itself? How does it influence the way individuals, communities, and nations interact with each other? What is the relationship between culture and civilization? Does it make sense to talk about cultural and/or civilizational conflict? If it does, what form does it take? Does it necessarily lead to violent conflict? Is there such a thing as an international or global culture? What might be its elements and their sources? What new insights does our explicit focus on culture add to our understanding of international relations? What can we do with those insights in analyzing international policy development and implementation? In order to answer these questions, we will explore culture at three levels: (1) individual and community; (2) nation and state; and (3) the international system. At the individual-community level, we will examine the way culture shapes a person’s identity and role within his/her community. At the national level, we will explore the sources of "national culture" and how it informs the way members of a nation see and behave toward members of other nations, with a particular focus on the (re)production of ethnic identities, national myths, and political ideologies. At the international system level, we will scrutinize the impact of "national cultures" on relations between states, with a particular focus on deepening conflict between nationalism and globalism. How does nationalism sustain itself against the ever-expanding forces of liberal globalism? By mid-term the student will develop a research proposal to analyze the impact of culture (at any of the three levels mentioned above) on the interaction between two or more nations over a policy problem of particular interest to the student. In the second half of the semester the student will carry out the proposed research and at the conclusion of the semester he/she will present his/her findings.
Spring 2015 - MIIS
IPSG 8531 - East Asia: Politics & Security
With the dramatically changed balance of power, historical issues continuing to color contemporary international relations, North Korea's nuclear and missile development seemingly unresolvable, and both the United States and Russia "pivoting" toward the region, East Asia today is a region in flux. This course will provide a review of the developments of major power relations and challenges facing political and security policy communities in the region. The course will include a scenario building exercise guided by competing theories of international relations. There are no prerequisites for this course.
Spring 2014 - MIIS
IPSG 8544 - Intro to HumanSecurity&Dvlpmnt
The focus of this course is human security, the everyday security of individuals and the communities in which they live rather than the security of nation states. It is the gateway course into the field of human security and development. The key concepts of human security are freedom from fear, freedom from want, and freedom to live in a society of justice under the rule of law. Specific approaches and policies of human security covered in this course include conflict analysis, management and resolution, human rights, peacebuilding, legitimate institutions and good governance, rule of law and justice, and programs and policies designed to lower armed violence.
Spring 2014 - MIIS
IPSG 8560 / IPOL 8560 - Intro to Intl Migration
This course will introduce students to migration as an object of policy studies, various aspects of migration as a social phenomenon, and policies designed to encourage, discourage, or otherwise affect the flow of people within and between countries. Among the issues to be addressed are: economic-development aspects of migration; human trafficking and relevant policy; gender and migration; public health issues associated with migration; demography-development link; migration as a factor in international relations; terrorism & border control issues relative to migration; refugee issues and policy; and the integration of migrants at destination. The course will also introduce students to international laws and other norms and frameworks dealing with migration and migrants, as well as to international organizations and non-governmental organizations actively involved with migration issues. Illustrative examples of problems of migration, migrants, and policy responses will be drawn from various countries and regions of the world. Students will begin developing skills in analyzing demographic, social, economic, and political factors in the migration process; dynamics of and policy responses to forced migration, the effectiveness of legal and policy instruments to regulate migration, and national and human security implications of migration.
Fall 2010 - MIIS, Fall 2012 - MIIS, Fall 2013 - MIIS, Fall 2014 - MIIS
IPSG 8599 / IPOL 8599 - HumanSecurity:Concept & Policy
The concept of "human security" was first introduced in the 1994 Human
>Development Report by the United Nations Development Program. It has
>since attracted growing attention in the academic and policy
>communities around the world. The concept has also become part of
>official policy in some countries, including Japan and Canada. In
>contrast to the traditional concept of "national security" with its
>focus on the security of the state against military threats, "human
>security" emphasizes the protection of individual citizens¹ security
>not only from war and other forms of physical violence but also from
>threats of a political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental
>nature. At the most fundamental level, ³human security² is defined as
>"freedom from fear" and "freedom from want," but beyond that there are
>competing approaches to it, as well as critical challenges to it both
>as a concept and as a guide for national or international policy.
>This course will critically examine: (1) "human security" as a concept;
>(2) opportunities and challenges in translating the concept into
>policy"; and (3) case studies of human security problems and policies
>from around the world.
Fall 2012 - MIIS, Fall 2013 - MIIS
IPSG 8606 - Intl Migration & Development ▹
International Migration and Development
This course will examine the nexus of international migration and development, that is, how international migration contributes to development around the world and how the positive and negative consequences of development drive international migration. The United Nations High Level Panel convened to discuss post-2015 global development goals submitted its report to the Secretary General, and the report states international migration is a key aspect of development and should be an important part of development strategy. The course will be of particular interest to students who are pursuing a career in the nexus of international migration and development. Each student will select a country of interest, assess the role of international migration (both in-migration and out-migration) in its development strategy (or lack thereof), conduct a research into the two-way influence, both positive and negative, between international migration and development in that country, and develop a policy recommendation for maximizing the positive development impact of international migration.
Spring 2015 - MIIS
IPSG 8614 - SemFrgnPlcy,Trade&SecPolE.Asia ▹
(East Asia is a dynamic region of great importance by virtue of its population size, economic dynamism, and political and security challenges. The impact of the region’s international relations is felt not only by the countries geographically located in the region but also by the rest of the world. The region is characterized by diversity in terms of historical, civilizational, and ethno-cultural backgrounds, political systems, levels of economic development, and foreign relations, as well as global impact, making regional relations very complex and sometimes very difficult, for major powers and smaller powers alike. This course will examine a broad range of foreign policy, trade, and security issues that present both opportunities and challenges to the regional countries and the United States. A unique feature of this course is that it includes a field trip to Tokyo and Beijing from March 12 to 22.* The students will learn first-hand the perspectives of local experts on the regional issues the seminar addresses through guest-lectures, interviews, library research, and discussions with local university students.
* Dec 12 - $100 deposit due; Feb 27 - remainder of program fee due.
Spring 2015 - MIIS
IPSG 8631 - Seminar: Russia & East Asia ▹
Seminar: Russia and East Asia
This seminar will examine Russia’s relations with and integration into the East Asian region. Russia’s recently declared “pivot” to the east is an indication of the growing importance Moscow attaches to its strategic, political, and economic interests in East Asia, particularly with respect to China, Japan, and South Korea. The seminar will examine the nature of those interests and policies Moscow is following in pursuit of those interests. A special feature of this seminar is that two MIIS and two Middlebury students will be selected on competitive basis to take a fully-paid field research trip to Vladivostok and Khabarovsk from March 21 to 29. Participants will be selected during the November 7-14 period. The trip will include: (1) a series of meetings with instructors, researchers, and students at the Far Eastern Federal University's School of International and Regional Studies in Vladivostok, as well as the Economic Research Institute, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Khabarovsk; (2) interviews with officials of the regional administrations of Khabarovsk and Primorye; (3) a series of meetings with media reporters and nongovernmental organization representatives in Vladivostok and Khabarovsk; and (4) a questionnaire survey of instructors, researchers, and students at the two institutions named above regarding their views on evolving Russia-Japan relations. Upon return the students will write research papers with a particular focus on Russia’s integration with Northeast Asian countries. The other students will write a research paper on a topic approved by the instructor.
Spring 2015 - MIIS
IPSG 8632 - SemIntergratdTheory,Rsrch&Prac
Students ideally only take this course in their fourth semester of the Human Security and Development Track. Students spending their fourth semester doing IPSS, DPMI or the equivalent, can take this course in their third semester.
In this course students will map, review and connect the major theories they have studied. They will explore how the theories emerge and develop from the intersection of research and practice. At the same time, they will learn to understand the mutually reinforcing relationships between theory, research and practice. Through mapping and review of their own research and practice experiences, students will then develop their own theories of practice. By the end of the course, they will be able to present a portfolio of their informed approach to some of the global challenges, which they hope to tackle as they step into the ‘real’ world.
Spring 2014 - MIIS
IPSG 8640 / IPOL 8640 - Sem:Comprativ Migration Anlys
Migration takes various forms, ranging from unskilled and skilled labor migration, regular and irregular migration, legal and illegal migration, temporary and permanent migration, refugees and asylum-seekers, to trafficking in persons and people smuggling. This seminar is designed for students to develop a comparative framework for analyzing one or more of these types and aspects of migration in two countries in two different regions of the world and to use that framework for research. The aim of such analysis is to: (1) identify the historical, geographical, political, economic, social, and cultural factors shaping the current state of migration in the countries compared, (2) the various factors informing the countries' current policies to deal with the situation, and (3) explain the differences and similarities in their approaches. In addition to the comparative analysis, students will choose one of the countries compared and prepare a "country profile," which offers a succinct summary of (1) and (2) above and a policy recommendation to improve the migration situation. Each student will present his/her country profile as if speaking to a group of journalists who have just been assigned to visit the country you have described and report on its current migration situation.
Spring 2011 - MIIS, Spring 2012 - MIIS, Spring 2013 - MIIS, Fall 2014 - MIIS
JALA 8499 - Special Topic: ICC-Japanese
This is the Japanese section of the Monterey Model course on human security and as such, will meet in plenary four times with the other language (English, Spanish, and French) sections. Each plenary will include presentations by each language section as well as discussions based on those presentations. The objective of this course is to develop the student’s ability to discuss human security generally, to explore the human security policy of Japan as a concrete example, and to present his/her views on the topic.
Since “human security” was first introduced as a new concept in the UNDP’s Human Development Report (1994), it has attracted much attention in the academic circles and policymakers around the world. This concept has been adopted into the policies of some countries, particularly Japan and Canada. Fundamentally, “human security” is composed of the two elements of “human development” and “human dignity (human rights).” In contrast to the traditional concept of “national security,” which focuses on the protection of the state from military threats, “human security” focuses on the security of individual citizens and includes not only security from war and other forms of physical violence but also security from political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental threats. This course, with a particular focus on Japan’s human security policy, will examine how it is defined, how it is implemented, and what its significance and problems are.
Spring 2012 - MIIS