- Project Leader : Yasutomi Atsushi (Miyazaki International College, School of International Liberal Arts)
- Collaborators : Pavin Chachavalpongpun (Kyoto University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies)
- : Kiba Saya (Komatsu University, Faculty of International Communication)
- : Terence Lee (National University of Singapore, Department of Political Science)
- : Rosalie Arcala Hall (University of the Philippines Visayas)
- : Eyal Ben-Ari (Kinneret Collage on the Sea of Galilee, The Center on Peace, Security, and Society in Memory of Dan Shomron)
Outline of Research
This research seeks to answer the following questions: 1) How have governments in some major states in Southeast Asia treated soldier deaths; 2) How has the treatment of soldier deaths affected security policies, particularly counter-terrorism and peace support operations such as United Nations Peace Keeping Operations (UNPKO); and, 3) Whether any differences in treating soldier deaths in these states has shaped distinctive characteristics in the process of security policy formation. This research compares the policies of four selected Southeast Asian countries: the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand. Research workshops will be conducted during the research period led by experts in each research subject area.
This research examines two major variables in four countries of Southeast Asia (the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand): 1) the treatment of soldier fatalities that occur during military operations, including combat deaths, accident deaths, and suicides, and; 2) state security policies, particularly counter-terrorism and peace support operations such as UNPKO. This research analyzes how treatment of soldier deaths has contributed to changes in formulating the security policies of these Southeast Asian states.
While soldier deaths during operations are inevitable for any military, such deaths have long been treated with less honor and respect in many Southeast Asian countries – both socially and financially – compared to most Western countries. This trend is changing. The rapid development of SNS technology allows live and global feed of scenes from frontline operations involving soldier deaths. This has caused an elevation in the awareness of human rights and has raised demands for improved treatment of soldiers’ deaths. In aging societies, a decrease in the number of soldiers may seriously damage national security; insufficient honoring and financial compensation for soldier deaths may lead to dissatisfaction and a further decrease in attracting fresh recruitments. A decrease in the size of the military in turn contributes to overburdening of each soldier, thus lessening the morale of the entire military. This ultimately may weaken national defense capabilities.
Against this background, this research analyzes: 1) How governments in some major states in Southeast Asia have treated soldier deaths; 2) How the treatment of soldier deaths has affected security policies, particularly counter-terrorism and peace support operations such as UNPKO; and, 3) Whether any difference in treating soldier deaths in these states has shaped distinctive characteristics in the process of security policy formation.
This research is significant to the extent that it elucidates how governments’ improved treatment of soldier deaths is becoming a new factor contributing to implementing security policies that correspond to the needs of the 21st century in Southeast Asia. How should people in Southeast Asian countries accept and digest future soldier deaths in counterterrorism and peace support operations, and how should politicians be accountable to the people for any military casualties? This research delves into once taboo and thus challenging discourses needed in today’s Southeast Asian societies and discusses them from political and social ethics perspectives.