RITUALS OF RELIEF: EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE TO JAPAN FROM ASIAN COUNTRIES FOLLOWING THE EASTERN JAPAN EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI

The Ateneo Center for Asian Studies
cordially  invites you to a lecture on

 

RITUALS OF RELIEF: EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE TO JAPAN FROM ASIAN COUNTRIES FOLLOWING THE EASTERN JAPAN EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI

 

By David M. Potter, Ph. D., Nanzan University

18 August 2012, 10:30 - 11:50, Berchmans Hall 106 (B106)

 

 

Abstract

In March 2011 Japan found itself, for the first time in many years, in the unexpected position of aid recipient.  Over the following three months following the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Japan received offers of assistance from more than 250 international organizations, countries, and other agencies, the largest number of any recent natural disaster.  A Foreign Ministry assessment in July observed that, after Sudan, Japan was likely to be the largest recipient of humanitarian assistance in 2011.

Drawing upon insights from gift theory, elaborated in recent years from the works of French sociologist Marcel Mauss, and Hattori Tomohisa's thesis that aid is a symbolic act of domination, this paper examines Asian governments' offers of emergency aid and their justifications for giving aid to Japan.  The paper argues that humanitarian aid to Japan in 2011 offered a rare chance to reverse the symbolic power relationship between aid donor and aid recipient.  Yet each government's aid response, and the rationales for it, was somewhat different, reflecting positions in the international aid regime and specific relationships with Japan.

 

About the lecturer:

David M. Potter is a professor of international relations in the Faculty of Policy Studies, Nanzan University.  His research focuses on official development assistance and international non-governmental organizations.  His main publications include S. Ahmed and D. M. Potter, NGOs in International Politics.  Kumarian Press 2006: D. Van Belle, J-S. Rioux, and D. M. Potter, Media, Bureaucracies, and Foreign Aid. Palgrave 2004: D. M. Potter, Japan's Foreign Aid to Thailand and the Philippines.  St. Martin's Press 1996.  His co-edited book, Foreign Aid Competition in Northeast Asia, will be published by Kumarian Press/Stylus this fall.