IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/gig/soaktu/v34y2015i2p113-138.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Japan’s Development Ambitions for Myanmar: The Problem of “Economics before Politics”

Author

Listed:
  • Donald M. Seekins

Abstract

Myanmar and Japan have had an important shared history since the Pacific War, when Japan occupied the British colony of Burma and established the country’s first postcolonial state and army. The period from 1941 to 1945 also witnessed the “militarization” of Myanmar as the country was turned into a battlefield by the Japanese, the Allies and indigenous insurgents. After independence from Britain in 1948, the Union of Burma continued to suffer insurgency and became a deeply conflicted society, especially under the isolationist socialist regime of General Ne Win (1962–1988). However, Japan played a major role in Myanmar’s economic development through its allocation of war reparations and official development assistance (ODA), especially yen loans. During the period of martial law from 1988 to 2011, Tokyo exercised some self-restraint in giving aid due to pressure from its major ally, the United States, with its human rights agenda. However, with the transition from junta rule to constitutional government in 2011 came a dramatic increase in Japanese ODA, as Tokyo forgave large amounts of debt and invested in ambitious new special economic zones (SEZ). Japan will no doubt benefit from Myanmar as close ties are expanded: Not only will Japanese companies profit, but Japan will have access to Myanmar’s raw materials and gain ability to compete more effectively with an economically expansive China. On Myanmar’s side, though, it is unlikely that anyone other than the military and crony capitalist elites will benefit from the flood of new yen loans and infrastructure projects. This paper argues that without a political resolution of Myanmar’s many conflicts, including the establishment of genuinely open political institutions, the aid of Japan (and other countries) is likely to make these deep-rooted social and ethnic conflicts even worse.

Suggested Citation

  • Donald M. Seekins, 2015. "Japan’s Development Ambitions for Myanmar: The Problem of “Economics before Politics”," Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 34(2), pages 113-138.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:soaktu:v:34:y:2015:i:2:p:113-138
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://journals.sub.uni-hamburg.de/giga/jsaa/article/view/843/875
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gerke, Solvay & Evers, Hans-Dieter, 2011. "Looking East, looking West: Penang as a knowledge hub," MPRA Paper 33980, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Evers, Hans-Dieter, 2011. "Penang as a knowledge hub," MPRA Paper 31763, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Evers, Hans-Dieter & Gerke, Solvay & Menkhoff, Thomas, 2010. "Knowledge Clusters and Knowledge Hubs: Designing Epistemic Landscapes for Development," MPRA Paper 33956, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 08 Oct 2011.
    4. Evers, Hans-Dieter & Nordin, Ramli, 2012. "The symbolic universe of Cyberjaya, Malaysia," MPRA Paper 39210, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Michael E. Porter, 2000. "Location, Competition, and Economic Development: Local Clusters in a Global Economy," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 14(1), pages 15-34, February.
    6. Hans-Dieter Evers, 2010. "The Knowledge Gap and the Digital Divide," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Thomas Menkhoff & Hans-Dieter Evers & Yue Wah Chay (ed.), Governing And Managing Knowledge In Asia, chapter 4, pages 71-78, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Sina Hardaker, 2018. "The Emerging Retail Market in Myanmar - An Institutional Perspective of Foreign Retailers’ Market Entry Decisions," International Business Research, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 11(1), pages 19-33, January.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Hans-Dieter Evers & Solvay Gerke, 2015. "Knowledge Cluster Formation as a Science Policy in Malaysia: Lessons Learned," Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 34(1), pages 115-137.
    2. Daum, Thomas, 2018. "Of Bulls and Bulbs: Aspirations and perceptions of rural youth in Zambia," Working Papers 275061, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    3. Salvatierra Rojas, Ana & Torres Toledo, Victor & Mrabet, Farah & Müller, Joachim, 2018. "Improving milk value chains through solar milk cooling," Working Papers 276621, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    4. Ganguly, Kavery & Gulati, Ashok & von Braun, Joachim, 2017. "Innovations spearheading the next transformations in India‘s agriculture," Working Papers 259006, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    5. Iskandar, Deden Dinar & Gatzweiler, Franz, 2014. "An optimization model for technology adoption of marginalized smallholders: Theoretical support for matching technological and institutional innovations," Working Papers 182495, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    6. Siriwardane, Rapti & Winands, Sarah, 2013. "Between hope and hype: Traditional knowledge(s) held by marginal communities," Working Papers 151401, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    7. Desalegn, Gashaw & Ali, Seid Nuru, 2018. "Review of the Impact of Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) on Rural Welfare in Ethiopia," Working Papers 278228, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    8. von Braun, Joachim & Gerber, Nicolas & Mirzabaev, Alisher & Nkonya, Ephraim M., 2013. "The Economics of Land Degradation," Working Papers 147910, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    9. Mbaye, Linguere Mously & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2016. "Natural Disasters and Human Mobility," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 10(1), pages 37-56, November.
    10. Purwaningrum, Farah & Evers, Hans-Dieter & Ariff Lim, Syamimi & Anthony Banyouko, Ndah, 2014. "The Governance of Knowledge: Perspectives from Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia," MPRA Paper 55170, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. von Braun, Joachim, 2018. "Innovations to Overcome the Increasingly Complex Problems of Hunger," Working Papers 271348, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    12. Evers, Hans-Dieter, 2011. "Knowledge cluster formation as a science policy: lessons learned," MPRA Paper 33978, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Schädler, Manuel & Gatzweiler, Franz W., 2013. "Institutional Environments for Enabling Agricultural Technology Innovations: The role of Land Rights in Ethiopia, Ghana, India and Bangladesh," Working Papers 159373, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    14. Husmann, Christine & von Braun, Joachim & Badiane, Ousmane & Akinbamijo, Yemi & Abiodun, Fatunbi Oluwole & Virchow, Detlef, 2015. "Tapping Potentials of Innovation for Food Security and Sustainable Agricultural Growth: An Africa-Wide Perspective," Working Papers 228855, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    15. Baumuller, Heike, 2013. "Mobile Technology Trends and their Potential for Agricultural Development," Working Papers 160565, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    16. Bekchanov, Maksud & Evia, Pablo, 2018. "Resources Recovery and Reuse in Sanitation and Wastewater Systems: Options and Investment Climate in South and Southeast Asian Countries," Working Papers 274732, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    17. Michael E. Cummings & Alan Gamlen, 2019. "Diaspora engagement institutions and venture investment activity in developing countries," Journal of International Business Policy, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 2(4), pages 289-313, December.
    18. Anthony J. Evans, 2016. "The unintended consequences of easy money: How access to finance impedes entrepreneurship," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 29(3), pages 233-252, September.
    19. George A. Erickcek & Hannah McKinney, 2004. "Small Cities Blues: Looking for Growth Factors in Small and Medium-Sized Cities," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 04-100, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    20. Rapanna, Patta, 2018. "The Development of Tourism Based on Local Wisdom in Indonesia," INA-Rxiv 5ayft, Center for Open Science.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gig:soaktu:v:34:y:2015:i:2:p:113-138. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/dueiide.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Marco Bünte The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Marco Bünte to update the entry or send us the correct address or Howard Loewen The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Howard Loewen to update the entry or send us the correct address (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/dueiide.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.