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EU Standards / Vice President of Hitotsubashi University Susumu Yamauchi

Hitotsubashi University and Keio University have agreed to found a joint graduate school in order to establish a world-class educational and research base focused on the EU.

In recent years, the EU has pushed for increasing political and economic integration as we can see in the liberalisation of movement and employment across borders and its establishment as a globally powerful economic sphere built upon a common currency. Needless to say, the EU has grown to become an enormous entity which competes with the US.

Most significantly, the EU has become a normative power. The EU operates through the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament as its legislative bodies, the European Commission as its administrative body, and the European Court of Justice as its judicial body tackling issues based upon European interests and ideals separately from its member states.

Though there are various historical sources and interpretations, remorse for the World Wars has led to an avoidance of war and the realisation of a peaceful and prosperous society, and therefore an emphasis on human rights functions as the basis for what defines the European vision. For this reason, the EU stresses upon diplomacy, striving for soft power and avoiding reliance on military power.

From a Japanese perspective, it may seem strange and a little difficult to comprehend how the European Commission operates in a skillful, philosophical and theoretical manner.

However, we cannot neglect this lack of understanding. For example, as a sanction against a violation of the Competition Law, the European Commission imposed a considerable fine upon Microsoft. The incident led to a dispute, as the sanction was met with a great deal of objection not only from the parties concerned, but also from US industry. Obviously, Japanese businesses cannot just brush this issue off as someone else’s problem. As a matter of fact, even though there are Japanese scholars who study respective European nations, the number of those specializing in the study of the EU itself is surprisingly small. There is an urgent need to develop human resources who will study the new standards proposed by the EU both theoretically and practically.

Through the 21st Century Centre of Excellence (COE) Programme staffed by the Graduate School of Law, and as a partner for the consortium that manages one of the EU Institutes in Japan, which are research bases funded by the European Commission aimed at promoting EU studies outside of the EU, Hitotsubashi University takes pride in having played a central role in the study of Europe in Japan.

To utilise and further previous research strategically, we have set up the goal to establish a joint graduate school through an equal partnership with Keio University, which has a long and rich history of EU studies, as well as abundant research resources.

Right from the start, both universities have sent out many individuals into the business world rather than government service, focusing upon the ‘private sector.’ Furthermore, in the Meiji era, Arinori Mori, the founder of the Commerce Training School that was the precursor of Hitotsubashi University, and Yukichi Fukuzawa, the founder of Keio University, were both part of Meirokusha, a society that promoted learning and enlightenment. When Mori was striving to found the school, Fukuzawa also worked hard to lend him a hand.

A partnership has now been realised after 135 years. Moreover, setting up a graduate school through the collaboration between public and private universities to award a joint degree is an unprecedented initiative that will undoubtedly have a tremendous impact.

Source (Opens new window): Published on the OPINION page, “DIAMOND Harvard Business Review” November 2008 Issue (DIAMOND Inc.)


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