Changing Values in Asia: Their Impact on Governance and Development

Han Sung-Joo, ed.
November 1999

This JCIE study takes a fresh look at the Asian values controversy. Highlighting regional variances in beliefs and patterns of behavior, this publication examines how socioeconomic change affects basic values and styles of domestic governance, what values are being contested within societies in the region, and how these contestations affect foreign relations.

The volume suggests that, to the degree they can be delineated, Asian values at a minimum failed to prevent the financial crisis of the late 1990s. Values that were useful during the early industrializing growth phase have not helped Asian countries adapt to the new age of interdependence and globalization, while the systems of domestic governance and foreign policy followed during the growth period have not either adjusted to the new circumstances.

That globalization requires values and styles of governance that are more associated with the West than with Asia—such as transparency, accountability, global competitiveness, a universalistic outlook and practices, an independent private sector, and an emphasis on private initiatives—does not mean that Asian values are now unimportant. Regardless of their role in explaining positive or negative economic behavior, these values will continue to inform Asian countries’ behavior and choices. This impact may not incorporate Asian values as they are presently applied, but it will certainly reflect their basic formulation. That Singapore, maybe the most articulate adherent of the Asian values concept, has adjusted to globalization so well underscores that the role Asian values play depends on a particular country’s stage of development and how specific values are selected, combined, emphasized, or adapted.


1. Asian Values: An Asset or a Liability? 
Han Sung-Joo, President, Ilmin International Relations Institute, Korea University
2. Chinese Values, Governance, and International Relations: Historical Development and Present Situation
Wang Yanzhong, Director, Industrial Development Center, Institute of Industrial Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
3. Governance, Political Conditionality, and Japan’s Aid Policy
Oshiba Ryo, Professor of International Relations, Department of Law, Hitotsubashi University
4. Values, Governance, and International Relations: The Case of South Korea
Chung Oknim, Fellow, Sejong Institute
5. Values, Governance, and Indonesia’s Foreign Policy 
Rizal Sukma, Deputy Director of Studies, Centre for Strategic and international Studies
6. Changing Filipino Values and the Redemocratization of Governance 
Segundo E. Romero, Vice President for Research and Special Studies, National Defense College of the Philippines
7. Values and Governance Issues in the Foreign Policy of Singapore 
Leonard C. Sebastian, Fellow, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies
8. Australia and Asia Pacific: Cultural Narratives and “Asian Values” 
Stephanie Lawson, Professor of International Relations, University of East Anglia
9. When Values Meet: Recent European Experiences 
Bernhard Stahl, Assistant Professor of International Relations, University of Trier
Copyright © 1999 Japan Center for International Exchange. All Rights Reserved.
ISBN 4-88907-030-3; 336 pages; paper