IV-2. “The Politics of Anti-Corruption Enforcement” (H29-30 FY2017-2018)

  • Project Leader : Toyama Ayako (Kyoto University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies)
  • Collaborators : Iga Tsukasa (Kyoto University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies)
  • : Mieno Fumiharu (Kyoto University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies)
  • : Kawamura Koichi (Institute of Developing Economies)
  • : Oyamada Eiji (Doshisha University, Graduate school of Global studies)
  • : Seto Hiroyuki (Niigata University of International and Information Studies, Faculty of International Studies)
  • : Asaba Yuki (University of Niigata Prefecture, Faculty of International Studies and Regional Development)
  • : Kiba Saya (Komatsu University, Faculty of International Communication)

Outline of Research

Democratization in general is said to have advanced globally since the end of the Cold War, but many phenomena emerging in recent years indicate a decline in democratization. This demands a review of the so-called democratization theory. Although the democratization of politics, including elections, is retreating, values such as good governance and the rule of law are still important political issues for authoritarian administration officials, as they help maintain the legitimacy of such administrations.

This research project aims to provide a new viewpoint of democratization in emerging economies in 21st century Southeast Asian countries by paying attention to the political role of corruption control. While the degree of democratization is declining, corruption control is being actively and positively promoted in Southeast Asian countries. This shows a paradox not seen before.


The project aims to construct a new theory of democratization by analyzing differences in power structures concerning the control of corruption in Southeast Asian countries. In recent years, corruption control seems to be playing a new political role that cannot be understood by previously conducted research. The project focuses on Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Laos, and Korea. It examines several key factors, including the political background in which corruption control is strengthened, political conflicts in institutions and legislation, characteristics of the execution of corruption control, and the influence of corruption control on democratization. Through this, the project will compare the systems of corruption control in these countries and the politics of each country.

Through this research, we reconsider one-dimensional theories of democratization such as “institutional democratization” that focus on conventional indicators like elections to measure an improvement in the quality of democratization. The current diversity of institutions and laws to control corruption is unprecedented. By analyzing the politics surrounding these institutional designs, barriers to democratization will be clarified. Moreover, as is seen with the example of the Malaysian Prime Minister, both domestic and international factors intertwine and complicate corruption cases. By this research, we can analyze international influences on the democratization of an individual country. Taken together, this research is a suitable approach in the attempt to construct a new democratization theory that is tailored to the political realities of the 21st century.

The study is expected to clarify the relationships between the political system and corruption control by comparing the characteristics of the political system and power structures of each country with the history and characteristics of the birth of anti-corruption measures and institutions, as well as the actual enforcement situation. It is hoped that this study will also clarify the challenges to democratization in each political system.

Thai Constitutional Court’s 20th Anniversary Party

International seminar on Anti-corruption Politics in Thailand