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[Report] International Symposium “Political and Economic Factors Shaping Latin America in the Next Decade -Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Comparison with East Asia-”

On March 8, the TGU Center for Positive/Empirical Analysis of Political Economy, Research Institute of Economics and Business Administration of Kobe University, Faculty of Political Science and Economics, Waseda institute of Political Economy, and the Waseda Institute of Latin American Studies sponsored an international symposium.

Invited speakers from Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Mexico) and East Asia (South Korea, Taiwan, Japan) presented their research on important issues facing each region and country from the political science and economics perspectives. Students, researchers, practitioners, and officials of international organizations participated in the symposium, which made the event a fruitful opportunity of lively academic exchanges.

The symposium consisted of three sessions. In the first session, “Challenges to Democratic Accountability in Asia and Latin America,” Prof. Jai Kwan Jung (Korea University, South Korea), Prof. Enrique Peruzzotti (Universidad Torcuanto Di Tella, Argentina), and Prof. Yuriko Takahashi (Waseda University, Japan) presented their research, and Prof. Yusuke Murakami (Kyoto University, Japan) commented on their works.

The second session, “Challenges to Regime Stability in Asia and Latin America,” Prof. Chelsea Chia-Chen Chou (National Taiwan University, Taiwan), Prof. Marcus André Melo (Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil), Prof. Nobuaki Hamaguchi (Kobe University, Japan) and Saori Kawai (Ryukoku University, Japan) gave a presentation, followed by a discussion of Prof. Marisa Kellam (Waseda University, Japan).

Finally, the third session, “Economic Integration in the Asia-Pacific Regions,” there were two presentations by Prof. Melba Falck (University of Guadalajara, Mexico) and Prof. Mikio Kuwayama (Kobe University, Japan). Prof. Yoshiaki Hisamatsu (Toyo University, Japan) served as a discussant for this panel.

In each session, lively discussions took place with questions from the floor. In particular, with the current spread of concern regarding the rise of populism worldwide, there has been a lively debate over presentations about Latin America, where there is a long tradition of populism. For instance, Prof. Peruzzotti presented his work on the relationship between populism and liberalism, two philosophical trends that underlie democracy in Latin America. A participant from the floor asked Prof. Peruzzotti if President Bolsonaro of Brazil, who is pointed out as having similarities with the U.S. President Trump, can be considered a populist. In response to Prof. Jung’s presentation on the “the 2016 Candle Light Protest” in South Korea, which called for the impeachment of the former President Park, the similarity to Brazil’s recent political changes was suggested. Through all these discussions, the participants were able to engage in conversations about common political issues facing democracies in Asia and Latin America.

This symposium provided a great opportunity to stimulate academic debates regarding common concerns such as the crisis of democracy, the “middle-income trap,” and economic integration among scholars from different regions and countries. Furthermore, the active debate in each session suggested that our academic research caught a significant attention broadly from participants with diverse backgrounds.

* This symposium was financially supported by the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research(B) (ID: 16H03313).

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