Purpose of the Base

Purpose of the Base 

In 2010, China has become the world’s second largest economy. If China manages to keep a near two-digit GDP annual growth, China will surpass the United States in the size of GDP within two decades. However, to achieve such an extraordinary rise, China needs to improve its productivity in the long-run, to procure a huge amount of resources from around the globe, and to adjust its institutional and legal systems.

Since 2001, China has aimed to “strategically transform its economic structure” and to “change the pattern of economic growth”. However, after a series of crises and events such as the Great Sichuan Earthquake, the Beijing Olympic Games, Lehman Shock, and the Shanghai Expo, today, China still needs to stress the necessity to “change the pattern of economic growth”.

From a historical perspective, the development of China’s heavy industries started in the interwar period, several decades after Japan had started its industrialization, and during the 1950s it was accelerated by introducing Soviet-style planned economy. However, China shifted towards local-based industrialization strategy since the 1960s. During the 1980s, further decentralization was made and the development of light-industry was pursued, as well as the introduction of market mechanism and economic opening. While the coastal districts enjoyed the development of export-oriented industries, the inland districts experienced local-led industrialization, leading to the dispersion of the industry. Because of the existence of such historically and structurally determined mechanism of industrial dispersion, the Chinese government has continuously called upon the “reorganization of the industrial structure and organization” and “sustainable development”.

During the first five-year term of our research project, the ISS Contemporary China Research Base has analyzed the long-run comparative economic development in China and East Asia by focusing on the industrialization and foreign economic relations. At the same time, we have studied contemporary issues such as the development of high-tech and software industries, the development of industrial agglomerations, economic law, China’s economic aid policies towards Africa and South East Asia, China’s trade relationship with South East Asia, through a series of field researches and data analyses.

During the second five-year term, we will employ several academic disciplines such as industrial organization, industrial location theory, comparative institutional analysis, energy economics, agricultural economics, industrial sociology, international economics, international relations, and international politics, while taking into consideration the historical and institutional biases of the Chinese economic system as well as the international economic environment that surrounds China, and investigate whether “the change of the pattern of economic growth” is possible or not.

 To provide a better understanding on China itself and its global impact, ISS can contribute through a wide range academic foundation. The pursuit of area studies grounded in the social sciences has been a core mission of the ISS ever since its foundation in 1946. The institute had several scholars in economics, law and political science which also engaged in Chinese Studies. We have also built strong ties with institutes inside and outside of The University of Tokyo. We signed an exchange agreement with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) in 1986. As the University's principal interface for this agreement, the ISS has used joint research projects, researcher exchange and visiting professor programs with CASS-affiliated institutes to develop an extensive track record of exchange activity and a diverse research network.