The East-West Center Research Program works with research and policy communities in the US and the Asia Pacific to provide more complete knowledge and deeper understanding of environments, societies, economies, governments, and international relations in the region. Research is conducted in close collaboration with networks of individuals and institutions throughout Asia and the Pacific and is shared broadly with planners, policymakers, regional specialists, the media, and the general public.

New Guidelines on Collecting, Storing, Analyzing, and Sharing Human Trafficking Data in Southeast Asia

The WSD Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Stanford University has recently published Getting to Good Human Trafficking Data: Everyday Guidelines for Frontline Practitioners in Southeast Asia, by Jessie Brunner. Copublishers are the East-West Center and the Human Rights Resource Centre in Indonesia. The guidelines are based on interviews with anti-trafficking practitioners from both government and civil society in four Southeast Asian nations, with additional input from international experts on human trafficking and data management. They are intended to serve as a reference document, offering baseline standards and recommendations based on current understanding around good, responsible data practices.

Other Recent Activities

In 2017, the East-West Wire, a long-standing media service provided by the East-West Center, increased coverage of findings and commentary from East-West Center researchers, visitors, and colleagues from the University of Hawaii and other research organizations. Produced by the Research Program in Honolulu, the Wires are two-page summaries that cover a wide range of topics. Many recent Wires are based on presentations made in the Research Program's Noon Seminar Series.



The Arctic in World Affairs: A North Pacific Dialogue on Building Capacity for a Sustainable Arctic in a Changing Global Order addresses five major themes relating to the Arctic: the impacts of a changing global order; responsible economic development of the Arctic; sustainable Arctic communities; Arctic challenges and opportunities for global maritime industries; and opportunities for enhancing the dialogue between practitioners and analysts. This book is available as a free download from the East-West Center website.



Japan's dramatic transformation from economic success story to prime example of economic stagnation offers important policy lessons to advanced countries everywhere. A new book, published by the Korean Development Institute and the East-West Center, assesses a wide range of policy approaches aimed at avoiding stagnation and economic decline, with lessons for the Republic of Korea. The book, Economic Stagnation in Japan, Exploring the Causes and Remedies of Japanization was edited by Dongchul Cho, Takatoshi Ito, and Andrew Mason and is available from the publisher, Edward Elgar.



In early December 2017, nearly 100 parliamentarians, directors of national statistics agencies, university-based researchers, and representatives from civil-society organizations came together in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to discuss how population change is affecting Asian economies. Some of the research findings presented at the gathering are summarized in NTA Bulletin 12, Sharing the demographic dividend: Findings from low- and middle-income countries in Asia.


East-West Center researchers recently launched a collaborative study on changes in rice farming in mainland Southeast Asia, supported by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Researchers will examine one of the most intriguing agricultural-development questions in the region—how have fewer, older farmers with fewer agricultural laborers and smaller farms managed to more than double total rice production over the past 20 years?


The East-West Center’s Pacific Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (Pacific RISA) program helps communities in Hawai'i and the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands anticipate and adapt to a changing climate. Recent activities in Hawai'i include an assessment of the effects of future climate change on freshwater resources on Maui and Oahu. In the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Pacific RISA is evaluating the impact of climate change on human migration. The Pacific RISA program is also leading the development of the Pacific Islands chapter of the fourth US National Climate Assessment.

Recent Publications by East-West Center Authors

Brewington, Laura (2018). Stakeholder perceptions of invasive species and participatory remote sensing in the Galapagos Islands. In M. Lourdes Torres and C. Mena, eds. Understanding invasive species in the Galapagos Islands: From the molecular to the landscape. Heidelberg: Springer, pp. 175-92.

When agricultural landowners and employees of the Galapagos National Park Service were asked about changes in land cover, their responses were strikingly different. Landowners thought guava had decreased by 19 percent between 2004 and 2010, while park employees reported an increase of 62 percent in the same area.

Brunner, Jessie (2018). Getting to good human trafficking data: Everyday guidelines for frontline practitioners in Southeast Asia. Stanford, California: WS Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice; Honolulu, Hawaii: East-West Center; West Java, Indonesia: Human Rights Resource Centre.

The guidelines are based on interviews with anti-trafficking practitioners in four Southeast Asian nations, with additional input from international experts on human trafficking and data management. They are intended to serve as a reference document, offering baseline standards and recommendations based on current understanding around good, responsible data practices.

Cho, Dongchui, Takatoshi Ito, and Andrew Mason, eds. (2018). Economic stagnation in Japan: Exploring the causes and remedies of Japanization. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Japan's dramatic transformation from economic success story to prime example of economic stagnation offers important policy lessons to advanced countries everywhere. This book assesses a wide range of policy approaches aimed at avoiding stagnation and economic decline.

Ernst, Dieter, and Michael G. Plummer, eds. (2018 forthcoming). Megaregionalism 2.0: Trade and innovation within global networks. World Scientific.

The US government has withdrawn from the Transpacific Partnership agreement (TPP), suggesting the need to highlight the critical role that international trade and investment play in fostering sustainable growth and prosperity. Equally important are economic policies to ensure that gains and losses from trade for innovation are shared by all.

National Transfer Accounts (2018). What do we learn when we "Count Women's Work"?  NTA Bulletin No.11. Honolulu: East-West Center.

Taking account of unpaid care and housework substantially increases the cost of raising children but also shows that the elderly, who often contribute substantially to care and housework, are not as heavy a burden on their families as sometimes suggested.

Roy, Denny (2018). How America can meet China's challenge, by Denny Roy. 2018. The National Interest. 25 April 2018.

Given the nature and scope of the Chinese challenge, the United States must make strategic adjustments. The first is Taiwan independence. Even small steps by the U.S. government that appear to signal an upgrade in relations with Taipei cause great consternation in Beijing. The second weak spot of the Chinese Communist Party is the exposure of the corruption or incompetence of senior officials.

Saksena, Sumeet, Chinh Cong Tran, and Jefferson Fox (2018). Household cooking fuel use in rural and peri-urban Viet Nam: A multilevel longitudinal analysis of supply side factors, by Energy for Sustainable Development. 44:47–54.

There may be places in Vietnam where the transition from wood to cleaner fuels for household cooking has slowed down due to the government's successful small-holder plantation programs. Other external interventions, such as highway construction and improved access to markets, may facilitate households moving to cleaner fuels.

More Publications by East-West Center Authors…

EWC Research in the News

6 May 2018—Why North Korea's Kim Jong Un is in peace mode, Honolulu Star Advertiser: Denny Roy

Even if Kim Jong Un’s offer to denuclearize is sincere, the process will require many gradual steps and years of tough negotiations, and Kim can be expected to demand concessions at every step. The talks could quickly fizzle if either side demands too much too soon, returning us to the tense situation of late 2017. This article is also available on the East-West Center website as an East-West Wire.

5 May 2018—Demography and its consequences: Small isn't beautiful, The Economist: Andrew Mason

If the average retirement age were increased by 2-2.5 years per decade between 2010 and 2050, this would be enough to offset demographic changes faced by “old” countries such as Germany and Japan.

1 May 2018—Some US defenses against a North Korean nuclear attack could be knocked out without a shot, Business Insider: Victoria Keener

Victoria Keener told Business Insider that climate change poses direct and indirect threats to US security: Direct threats from increasing impacts of sea-level rise, waves, and intense storms on coastal military infrastructure, and indirect threats from salinized groundwater and soils, effects on human health, and human migration induced by climate impacts and instability.

5 April 2018—What is "Made in China 2025"? Policy could trigger US trade war, International Business Times: Dieter Ernst

Dieter Ernst explained that the "Made in China 2025" initiative came from the realization that China's investment-driven “Global Factory” model, based on low-wage production, was no longer enough to provide long-term economic growth and prosperity. 

23 March 2018—For the U.S. and China, a technology cold war that's freezing over, New York Times: Dieter Ernst

Recent tit-for-tat trade actions could deepen what has become a global contest for technological dominance between the United States and China. Dieter Ernst points out that the Chinese have a long way to go in manufacturing semiconductors, but they are well aware that they are by far the most important market for American companies.

14 March 2018—PM Hasina calls on Myanmar to help repatriate Rohingya, Straits Times: Charles Morrison

In a recent visit to Singapore, Bangladesh Prime Minister asked for ASEAN support to convince the Myanmar government to prepare for the safe return of the Rohingya refugees. Charles Morrison cautions, however, that ASEAN would be unlikely to interfere in what would be considered an internal Myanmar problem.

7 January 2018—Is a full oil embargo against North Korea even possible?, South China Morning Post: Denny Roy

Cutting off North Korea's oil imports, some have argued, could bring economic and military activity to a halt, inexorably forcing Kim Jong-un to put his nukes on the bargaining table. But most of North Korea’s oil is imported from China, and it is unlikely China will ever agree to a full, sustained oil embargo. This is because a total cutoff on exports to North Korea could lead to regime collapse in Pyongyang—something Beijing fears more than a nuclear-armed neighbor.

5 January 2018—Can China really take over Taiwan?, The Washington Post: Denny Roy

For years, most analysts in the United States generally accepted the idea that Taiwan's status as a de facto independent democracy was unsustainable as China's economy and military rose to dominate Asia. In recent years, however, U.S. analysts and officials have begun to doubt whether China has the capacity, or even the will, to take over Taiwan.

More East-West Center in the News…

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