Regular Issue

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Volume #24, Number #2

Published in December, 2020

Facing labor shortages and looming economic challenges, East Asian countries decided to open their labor markets and recruit low-skilled foreign workers. For example, Taiwan adopted a guest-worker program in 1992 that heavily involved private recruitment agencies as labor mediators, whereas Korea launched a temporary labor migration program in 2003 through government-to-government agreements. Despite their similar democratic experiences and developmental histories, why has Korea developed a government-managed guest-worker program while Taiwan has established a brokerage-driven program to control foreign workers? What are the driving factors behind the divergence of labor migration governance between Taiwan and Korea? To answer the question, this paper first compares key features of their foreign labor policy, including recruitment, admission, employment, and return of migrant workers, and then examines the main drivers behind the institutional divergence. This study argues that three factors have largely determined the divergent outcomes of labor migration policies: (1) the power balance between economic and social ministries in the government, (2) political pressures from civil society for migrants’ rights, and (3) systematic participation of labor unions in social movements for labor migrants.

Mason M.S. Kim

Local elected officials are expected to advise or mandate their citizens to take protective action when their communities face imminent risk. These decisions are challenging, as they must be made with imperfect information. This study identifies the factors that influence Taiwan’s local elected officials’ decisions to suspend public and school operations in response to impending typhoon risk. Through an analysis of data collected from semi-structured interviews with nineteen informants, this article reveals multiple interrelated factors that influence such decisions. These factors include (1) the storm’s strength, timing, speed, and path; (2) a jurisdiction’s geographical, economic, and social characteristics; (3) internal stakeholder factors; (4) external stakeholder factors; and (5) the elected officials’ experience, knowledge, and values. These factors contribute to the suspension decision process because officials are under pressure to meet legal, managerial, and political accountabilities. This study reveals the complexities associated with risk response decision making and contributes to our understanding of how public officials make decisions in uncertain situations.

Wen-Jiun Wang, Tien-Shen Li

Around the world, the repatriation of indigenous remains has long been a contentious issue. Taiwan is no exception. This article examines the Mayuan repatriation case through an institutional lens. It argues that the so-called “repatriation” is much more complex than the physical return of human remains and cultural objects. The process of repatriation is in fact a redefinition of ownership/rights toward the remains/objects, and a reconstruction of relationships between universities, research groups, and more importantly indigenous peoples. It further argues that this case provides us with an opportunity to revisit the fundamental question of who owns/repatriates what, when and how. Given this complexity, this article stresses that providing institutional arrangements is a must. In so doing, the government should show its determination in facing this dark history and then initiate programs, legal proceedings, and fundings to facilitate the return of indigenous ancestral remains/objects to their communities of origin.

Chih-Tung Huang

The independence of post-communist countries following the dissolution of the Soviet Union is a crucial topic in academic research on contemporary international relations. The foreign policies and political development of these countries reveal various facets of their transitions. This paper focuses on the relationship between the regime transfer following the break up of the Union and the foreign policies of the countries in order to clarify the effects of internal/external factors on the aforementioned policies. This study examines two countries in order to clarify the relationship between regime transfer and foreign policies. Although the Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan have undergone frequent revolutions, they differ considerably in terms of their diplomatic directions. In the Ukraine, the foreign policy has changed following each revolution and the diplomatic direction has changed after each regime transfer. By contrast, the diplomatic direction of Kyrgyzstan has remained mostly unchanged despite the revolutions. In seeking to explain this difference we draw the following conclusions: (a) A revolution has only a small impact on foreign policy; it is the competition for power and asymmetric dependence that have a major impact. (b) Geopolitical divisions serve as a major factor affecting the foreign policies of the two countries. Revolutions affect foreign policy either in terms of their scope or are simply irrelevant.

San-Yi Yang

Based on the perspectives of Communitarianism, this research examines Cambodian civil society through document analysis, in-depth interviews and field observations conducted in two rural villages in Cambodia. By comparing the two villages, this research explores factors hindering collective actions for common good in the situation that the environmental crisis threatens villagers’ subsistence. The research results show that low education level, low income level, and inherited trauma caused by the Khmer Rouge genocide are factors causing villagers’inactions. Low education level and low income level renders the villagers underestimate their capability to solve the environmental problems. The unhealed trauma creates difficulties for rebuilding interpersonal trust critical for collective action of common good that beneficiaries are uncertain. In addition, this study also finds that income level, physical shape of the village, services and assistances offered by NGOs explain the different sense of community embedded in the two villages.

Tsuey-Ping Lee