skip to contents.

Research Activities

Research Projects

FY 2006/2007 Research Topic: 1-03
Political Economy of FTAs: Institutional Change in Asian Countries


Regional integration has become a global trend since the 1990s. In 2002, Japan and Singapore signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), and since then, bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations between Japan and Asian countries have accelerated. The Japan-Mexico EPA went into effect in 2005. EPAs with Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines have already been agreed to in principle. Ongoing negotiations are being carried out with the Republic of Korea and Indonesia. It can be said that enhancing linkages through FTAs has become an indispensable step towards community building as well as stability and prosperity in Asia.

The main purpose of our study is to describe the institutional framework and policymaking process of countries where domestic structural reforms are needed before concluding FTAs. Because FTAs call for the elimination of tariffs and other restrictive regulations, structural reforms become inevitable in relevant fields such as agricultural foods, some domestic industries and the movement of skilled workers. We will focus on actors such as politicians, technocrats, legislative bodies, the business sector and industrial organizations which are now under pressure from liberalization and structural reforms. Their interactions, policy responses and the process of policy making will be thoroughly analyzed.


April 2006 - March 2007


HIGASHI Shigeki (Area Studies Center)

Members of the Research Project

HIGASHI Shigeki (Area Studies Center)
OKUDA Satoru
ANAZAWA Makoto (Professor, Otaru University of Commerce)