Since the late 1960s, significant progress has been made in terms of regional community-building in Asia Pacific. However, integration has tended to be viewed narrowly in terms of trade or, in the case of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), security cooperation. Since the end of the cold war, however, new calls have arisen for deeper and more substantive regional cooperation, and in particular for the establishment of cooperative institutions in East Asia that can harness shared values and vision in order to meet critical regional and global challenges. Recognizing the importance of the development of an intellectual infrastructure that can serve as the backbone of such a community and facilitate confidence-building measures, JCIE undertook a study project that surveyed the current state of the intellectual network within the East Asian region and researched strategies for strengthening the intellectual infrastructure for East Asian community-building.

As part of this study, JCIE staff visited and surveyed leading policy research institutes in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and South Korea. This project was commissioned by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in response to a proposal made by Prime Minister Koizumi in Singapore in January 2002 for closer regional cooperation and a stronger Japan-ASEAN relationship, and the project results were submitted in March 2003.