The March issue of Pacific Affairs is a special issue dedicated to “Understanding the Development of Think Tanks in Mainland China, Taiwan, and Japan.” In the introduction to the special issue, guest editors Patrick Köllner (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies), Xufeng Zhu (Tsinghua University), and Pascal Abb (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies) highlight the important conceptual and empirical contributions to the literature on think tanks in East Asia and beyond. The introduction posits how focusing on the trajectories and traits of think-tank sectors in Mainland China, Taiwan, and Japan, also reveals how political context, operating at different levels, has affected the development of think tanks in these three settings.
In the special issue’s first paper, “The Rise of China’s New-type Think Tanks and the Internationalization of the State,” Jane Hayward (London School of Economics/Tsinghua University) examines the promotion of new-type think tanks by the Chinese government. She argues that the sphere of think tanks has become an important site of political contestation concerning China’s internationalization and the impact of class power on national policymaking.
This is followed by, “Embracing Scientific Decision Making: The Rise of Think Tank Policies in China,” by Lan Xue (Tsinghua University), Xufeng Zhu (Tsinghua University), and Wanqu Han (Henan Normal University). Here the authors explain the reasons for, and consequences of, the rise of the key think-tank policy to strengthen the construction of “New-Type Think Tanks with Chinese Characteristics.” They argue that the prosperity of Chinese think tanks has been driven primarily by greater official recognition of their value, due to increasingly complex domestic and international development problems stemming from the fragmented decision-making system. The authors further argue that the rise of think-tank policies in China can be attributed to a long history of interactions between multiple internal and external actors, which in turn, opened the “window of opportunity” for a new policy agenda.
Next, in their paper, “The Impact of Democratization, Political Culture, and Diplomatic Isolation on Think Tank Development in Taiwan,” authors Pascal Abb (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies) and Alan Hao Yang (National Chengchi University) seek to explain the development of think tanks in Taiwan through that state’s evolution as a political entity, focusing on the effects of democratization, political culture, and diplomatic non-recognition. They further offer an overview of Taiwan’s think tank landscape, describing major groups (or types) of institutes and briefly portraying especially prominent cases within them, and then detail how they operate in practice based on two case studies.
Closing out the special issue is “Knowledge Regimes in Post-Developmental States: Assessing the Role of Think Tanks in Japan’s Policymaking Process.” Here, author Sebastian Maslow (Kobe University) illustrates how changes in Japan’s policy structure since the early 1990s generated an increasingly polarized and competitive think tank sector in that country. Maslow assesses the impact of these changes on Japan’s recent policy debates on collective self-defence and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement under the current administration of Abe Shinzō. He shows that despite the increasingly important role of think tanks in the policy process, individual intellectuals and academics continue to play a prominent role in advising Japan’s decision makers.
Pacific Affairs is an interdisciplinary journal committed to advancing empirical and conceptual knowledge in the field of Asia Pacific-focussed area studies. We view area studies as combining serious commitment to original research on specific regions and countries in Asia and the Pacific with insights and analytical rigour derived from multiple disciplines and various theoretical perspectives.
Impact Factor Score: .667 (30 out of 69 Area Studies journals) – cites in 2016 to articles published in 2014 and 2015.
5-Year Impact Factor Score: 0.903 (16 out of 69 Area Studies journals) – cites in 2016 to articles published from 2011 to 2015
Immediacy Index Score: 0.050 (24 out of 69 Area Studies journals) – cites in 2016 of articles published in 2015
Article Influence® Score: 0.341 (28 out of 69 Area Studies journals)
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Pacific Affairs is a peer-reviewed, independent, and interdisciplinary scholarly journal focussing on important current political, economic, and social issues throughout Asia and the Pacific. Each issue contains approximately five new articles and 40-45 book reviews. Published continuously since 1928 under the same name, Pacific Affairs has been located on the beautiful campus of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, since 1961. The journal is committed to providing to the scholarly community and the world at large high quality research on Asia and the Pacific that takes readers beyond the headlines and across multiple disciplines.
Publication of Pacific Affairs is generously supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, The University of British Columbia, and Simon Fraser University.
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