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Launch of the Border Tourism: Border Studies for Community Development Project

A UBRJ-led project entitled "Border Tourism: Border Studies for Community Development" began in October 2013 after being adopted as a Program for Promotion of Humanities and Social Sciences via the Setting of Challenges Program to Address the Needs of the Real World as commissioned by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. In the island nation of Japan, no full-scale initiatives to use borders as a tourism resource have been implemented. This project aims to promote Japan's border areas, often known only in the context of territorial disputes, and to contribute to the lives of people living there. UBRJ and tourism experts from Hokkaido University have collaborated with researchers from Kyushu University and Chukyo University to develop the project. The initiative involves making social contributions in collaboration with commercial operators. Local governments and regional think-tanks engaged in the Japan International Border Studies Network now plan to launch major efforts for promotion of the project. A wealth of information on research, organizations and achievements regarding border tourism will be provided on the UBRJ website.

(Akihiro Iwashita, Research Leader)

Reconstructing International Relations through Border Studies (Grant-in-AId A, Japan Society of Promotion of Sciences)

The Global COE Program "Reshaping Japan's Border Studies" ended in 2013, however, the Slavic Eurasian Research Centre at Hokkaido University has adopted a new border studies research program, the Grant-in-Aid A of the Japan Society of Promotion of Sciences. This project is a 4 year project which will end in 2017. This project will attempt to go beyond the traditional methodology of international relations based on the relations and powers between and among sovereign states and will focus on the substantial factors that prescribe international relations such as the spatial proximity between and among states as well as territorial and border issues. The project team consists of experts in international relations, political geography, economics, history and environmental studies, and we aim to develop a new approach to "geopolitics" or a bottom up approach to political geography with a focus on the "sphere of living" of everyday people.

(Akihiro Iwashita, Research Leader)

Japan-Finland bilateral project-- "Russia's Final Energy Frontier: Sustainability Challenges of the Russian Far North" (funded by Japan Society of Promotion of Sciences (JSPS) and the Academy of Finland)

The Slavic and Eurasian Research Center has established a bilateral project between Japan and Finland to create a sustainable network for joint research on the regional development in the Russian Far North, which is being funded by the JSPS and the Academy of Finland. This project will take place for two years, between 2014-2016, and aims to (1) explore whether the oil and gas developments as well as the Northern Sea Route in the Russian Arctic are sustainable; and (2) to examine the economic effects of the development of the Arctic region have on the Russian economy. Moreover, the project will analyze the costs and benefits of the developments in the Arctic region. The project leader is Slavic Eurasian Research Center Professor Shinichiro Tabata, current UBRJ member, as well as the Director of the Helsinki office of Hokkaido University.

(Shinichiro Tabata, Project Leader)

Japan Consortium of Area Studies (JCAS) Next Generation Workshop: Borders, Society and Environment in Eurasia: Acquisition of Comprehensive "Border" Knowledge through Interdisciplinary Dialogue

Through the initiatives of three junior scholars Mr. Tetsuro Chida (member of UBRJ), and Mr. Yasunori Hanamatsu (Kyushu University), previous project members of the Global COE Programme "Reshaping Japan's Border Studies" and Dr. Mitsuko Watanabe (Nara Women's University) JCAS will be organizing and hosting a workshop on the theme of "Borders, Society and Environment in Eurasia." The workshop will invite Professor Masayuki Yanagisawa (Center for Integrated Area Studies, Kyoto University) as well as 9 junior scholars who specialize in the environmental and social problems as well as trans-border (transnational) environmental issues in various border regions in Eurasia. The workshop aims to explore issues pertaining to border, environment and society in the context of the transformation process after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, to consider the problem of and to share the wealth of knowledge on various fields of Eurasia. This workshop will be a part of an ongoing project to create a network of young scholars that specialize in area studies. The workshop will take place on February 7th, 2015 (Sat) in Nara Women's University.

(Tetsuro Chida, Project Leader)