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Greeting from the Director
   The Institute of International Relations and Area Studies was founded in 1989, aimed to promote the fusion of International Studies and Area Studies. As for today, I still think it is a pioneer work and challenging vision because both two studies are similar but different in approaches.

International Studies examine various problems and phenomena beyond boundaries, for example environment problems, poverty, armed conflicts and refugees. Clearly these problems could not be settled by an individual country but require international cooperation. To solve these problems, students of International Studies think about how to build global standards and how to promote international cooperation.

On the other hand, students of Areas Studies are generally more interested in ‘reinventing’ uniqueness of a society they are observing, rather than thinking about ‘global’ issues and cross-border universal values. Consequently, the relationship between International Studies and Area Studies is, at best, not harmonious and, at worst, in conflict.

  The mission of our Institute of International Relations and Area Studies is to get the two studies engaged as an academic paradigm of the 21st century. All of our previous directors have taken this mission in advance and respected the value of fusing International Studies and Area Studies. As we face the deepening of globalization, our mission is getting greater importance.

  I can feel this even in my own research field. For example, transnational crimes, such as terrorism, human trafficking and drug trafficking, are becoming global threats that need to get international cooperation for counter-measures. International Studies may be good at discussing possible inter-governmental policy cooperation but less helpful in understanding local dynamics of criminal activities, which are the core of the problem. This is why we need Area Studies’ perspectives and their inputs toward policy-making circles.

  In this sense, Area Studies also needs to change. There is no doubt that finding local uniqueness is the main mission of Area Studies, but it should be more synchronized with the global agenda. Therefore, I believe, Area Studies needs to have more dialogue with International Studies.

  Our Institute of International Relations and Area Studies aims to provide such a place for the dialogue. We are the first to find out its importance and get it implemented in Japan. So our research activities should be very potential and attractive. As Director of this Institute, my mission is to make our research be more known in and outside university.

Director of Institute of International Relations and Area Studies

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