• Walang Nahanap Na Mga Resulta

Macro-Historical Conditions for a Reconciliation in East Asia:


Academic year: 2023

Share "Macro-Historical Conditions for a Reconciliation in East Asia:"


Buong text


Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia


Macro-Historical Conditions for a Reconciliation in East Asia:

Remaking History in an Age of Civilizational Crisis | Kinhide MUSHAKOJI States as Managers of International Labor Migration:

The Cases of South Korea and Taiwan | Vicente Angel YBIERNAS Remembering the Great Ancestors: Images of Japanese Emigrants

from the Perspective of Third- and Fourth-Generation Philippine Nikkeijin Ron Bridget VILOG

The Making of a Philippine Province: Romblon During the American Colonial Period | Kristoffer ESQUEJO


Timor Leste’s Preparation for Accession into ASEAN: Public Participation, Production of Knowledge/s, Comparative Histories, and Perspectives from Below | Jacqueline Aquino SIAPNO

Declaration of the Leaders of Climate Communities from Asia, Africa, and Latin America | Coalition of Climate Communities

Cambodia at a Crossroads: New Laws Would Limit Freedoms | Various CSOs Political Conference on a Progressive Agrarian Reform | A Joint Statement FDC to the World Bank: Get Out of Dirty Energy and Pay Up Your

Climate Debt | Freedom from Debt Coalition

Statement by International Solidarity Group for Thai Democracy and Human Rights




2 ASIAN STUDIES is an open-access, peer-reviewed academic journal published since 1963 by the Asian Center, University of the Philippines Diliman.


Eduardo C. Tadem (Editor in Chief), Asian Studies

Michiyo Yoneno-Reyes (Review editor), Asian Studies

Eduardo T. Gonzalez, Asian and Philippine Studies

Ricardo T. Jose, History

Joseph Anthony Lim, Economics*

Antoinette R. Raquiza, Asian Studies

Teresa Encarnacion Tadem, Political Science

Lily Rose Tope, English and Comparative Literature

* Ateneo de Manila University. All the other members of the editorial board are from UP Diliman.

Managing Editor: Janus Isaac V. Nolasco Editorial Associate: Katrina S. Navallo Layout Artist: Ariel G. Manuel


Patricio N. Abinales, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Andrew Charles Bernard Aeria, University of Malaysia Sarawak

Benedict Anderson, Cornell University

Melani Budianta, University of Indonesia

Urvashi Butalia, Zubaan Books (An imprint of Kali for Women)

Vedi Renandi Hadiz, Murdoch University

Caroline S. Hau, Kyoto University

Huang Renwei, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences

Reynaldo C. Ileto, Nanyang Technological University

Benedict Tria Kerkvliet, Australian National University & University of Hawaii

Lau Kin Chi, Lingnan University

Lee Jung Ok, Daegu Catholic University

Francis Loh Kok Wah, Universiti Sains Malaysia

Armando S. Malay, Jr., University of the Philippines Diliman

Kinhide Mushakoji, Osaka University

Raul Pertierra, Philippine Women’s University

Somchai Phatharathananunth, Mahasarakham University

Michael Pinches, University of Western Australia

Bambang Purwanto, Gadjah Mada University

Vicente Rafael, University of Washington

Helen Yu-Rivera, University of the Philippines Diliman

Harsh Sethi, Seminar Journal (New Delhi)

Wen Tiejun, Renmin University of China

Surichai Wun’Gaeo, Chulalongkorn University


Copyright 2014 | ISSN: 0004-4679 (print) | ISSN: 2244-5927 (online) Asian Center, Magsaysay cor. Guerrero Sts.

University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City EMAIL: upasianstudies@gmail.com | jvnolasco@up.edu.ph

PHONE: 63.2.920.3535 or 63.2.981.8500 loc. 3586

The cover is based on the design of Marco Malto. The silhouette on the front cover is that of Borubodur in Indonesia. The content of Asian Studies may not be republished without the


Macro-Historical Conditions for a Reconciliation in East Asia:

Remaking History in an Age of Civilizational Crisis

Kinhide MUSHAKOJI ...1

States as Managers of International Labor Migration:

The Cases of South Korea and Taiwan

Vicente Angel YBIERNAS ...15

Remembering the Great Ancestors: Images of Japanese

Emigrants from the Perspective of Third- and Fourth-Generation Philippine Nikkeijin

Ron Bridget VILOG ...39

The Making of a Philippine Province:

Romblon During the American Colonial Period

Kristoffer ESQUEJO ...74 COMMENT



Timor Leste’s Preparation for Accession into ASEAN:

Public Participation, Production of Knowledge/s, Comparative Histories, and Perspectives from Below

Jacqueline Aquino SIAPNO ...108

Declaration of the Leaders of Climate Communities from Asia, Africa, and Latin America

Coalition of Climate Communities ...119

Cambodia at a Crossroads: New Laws Would Limit Freedoms Various CSOs ...125

Political Conference on a Progressive Agrarian Reform

A Joint Statement ...131

FDC to the World Bank: Get Out of Dirty Energy and Pay Up Your Climate Debt

Freedom from Debt Coalition ...138

Statement by International Solidarity Group for

Thai Democracy and Human Rights ...137




State of Fragmentation: The Philippines in Transition by Various Authors

Reviewed by Ma. Victoria RAQUIZA ...140

The Song of the Babaylan: Living Voices, Medicines, Spiritualities of Philippine Ritualist-Oralist-Healers by Grace Nono

Reviewed by Raul NAVARRO ...145

New Colonial Women in Korea by Hyaeweol Choi

Reviewed by Angelo ARRIOLA ...149 TRA



Dead Season

Caroline Sy HAU ...154 LITERAR




Isabel BANZON ...160

Transitions: Four Haiku

Temario RIVERA ...161



Macro-Historical Conditions for a Reconciliation in East Asia:

Remaking History in an Age of Civilizational Crisis



Professor, Centre for Asia Pacific Partnership Osaka University of Economics and Law

A b s t r a c t A b s t r a c t A b s t r a c t A b s t r a c t A b s t r a c t

This article talks about how the dominant Westphalian model, which is rooted in the capitalist development, has failed to institute peace among the countries in different regions in the world—a product of a civilization’s crisis. This crisis is a confluence of expansionism and cultural imperialism wielded by the circle of “civilized nations,” which Japan joined, resulted in the Great Japan Asianism, and fueled the development of Japan’s war state, the new Cold War between the haves and have-nots, and the growth of antihegemonic movements all over the world. Citing the 1955 Bandung Conference as a precedent, the article seeks to establish alternatives to the Westphalian peace narrative and suggests that Asian nations, in particular, look inwards and find amongst themselves local and indigenous means to achieve peace. This also calls for a reconciliation among the four countries of East Asia to look beyond the historical transgressions of the past and move forward towards building a pluralistic “common home of East Asian peoples.”

Keywords: Westphalian peace, totalitarian war state, Bandung Conference, exogenous modernization, Japan Asianism




KKairairairairosairosososos vs. vs. vs. vs. m vs.mmmythomythoythoythosssss : The neoliberytho : The neoliber: The neoliber: The neoliber: The neoliberal global economal global economal global economal global economal global economyyyyy of W

of Wof W

of Wof Westphalian capitalismestphalian capitalismestphalian capitalismestphalian capitalismestphalian capitalism

THE TIME (KAIROS) IS RIPE for reconciliation in East Asia but the Myth (mythos) of colonialist glory, based on a misinterpretation of the Westphalian Peace System2 by Japan, makes it impossible to build a Common House of East Asia—together with China and the two Koreas, North and South. It is necessary to overcome this myth of national glory and counter it with another that supports local endogenous development and opposes cultural imperialism from its emulator, Japan.3 We are experiencing a Cold War between the cultural imperialism of the global financial capitalist forces and the anti-imperialist forces of the emerging endogenous ecocultural forces of local citizens and the multitude. The four states of East Asia will have to overcome their belief in the myth of state-based developmentalism, which adheres to Westphalian capitalist peace. Instead, they have to build a new endogenous regional community of communities as part of the emerging non-Western world united by a pluralistic vision against cultural imperialism.

The development of such a new vision has to found itself on an alternative reading of the history of modernization in East Asia. This model will be a triad. First, it must depict Japan’s exogenous developmental project, which turned East Asia into a regional arena of Westphalian interstate conflict, the target of external and local forces of cultural imperialism. The external imperialism led by the British and then the American hegemons, along with the internal countercolonialist expansion of Japan, was based on an imitation of the exogenous Westphalian model of universalism and expansionism. Second, the model must paint a picture of the present civilizational crisis. Third, it must look to the Bandung Conference, which is posited as an alternative to the present myth of Westphalian peace; its reinterpretation will be a target of our efforts in East Asia.



The tragic experience of cultural imperialism in East Asia The tragic experience of cultural imperialism in East AsiaThe tragic experience of cultural imperialism in East Asia The tragic experience of cultural imperialism in East Asia The tragic experience of cultural imperialism in East Asia

I wish to give an interpretation of the Japanese anticolonialist state project, which was based on a grand strategy of maintaining Japan’s independence. Japan, encircled by Western colonial powers, became a colonialist state. And, to counteract potential aggression by the Western hegemons, Japan eventually turned into a modern developmentalist total- war state—attacking and distinguishing herself from neighbor countries in the name of modernization—and into a non-Western Westphalian great power.4

This was Japan’s State Civilizational Project, which the great Westphalian states wanted to admit into the inner circle of civilized powers.

Japan underwent a nation-building effort of exogenous modernization, and stayed Westernized while keeping its patriarchal traditions reformulated according to the Westphalian peace project.

The state project of the Meiji “modern” state was coined by Yoshida Shoin of the Choshu Clan. Alerted by the Opium War in China, Shoin taught his disciples a plan to build a modern state that emulates the Western powers, to accept Western technology and institutions, and to develop Japan into a modern unified nation state. One very dangerous component of this project was to counteract Western colonialism by transforming modern Japan into a powerful colonial state. He wanted Japan to colonize the North Pacific beginning from Hokkaido, Korea, Manchuria, the Ryukyu Kingdom, Taiwan, and down to the Philippines.5

One of his disciples, Ito Hirobumi, who became a key leader of the Meiji State, applied this plan to build a modern state and reported at his master’s grave that he implemented his will and colonized Korea. The colonial expansion of Japan, which started with the annexation of the Ryukyu Kingdom, was followed by the annexation of the Korean Kingdom and by the invasion of China, which in turn precipitated the creation of the Manchukuo puppet state. At present, the colonial expansion of Japan is still legitimized by conservative political and economic leaders, who continue Japan’s expansion post-1945 Defeat, through an economic project based on



a course-correction that combines the subaltern role of the United States as the new hegemon, and focuses on the building of an economic influence with a potential for regaining political and military supremacy in the future.

This trend of Asianism, combined with Japan’s great power status, did not end with the 1945 defeat. It kept the principle of a developmentalist

“total-war state,” which demilitarized Japan and developed and applied nuclear energy to build a prosperous national economy. The “peaceful use” of nuclear power, nevertheless, maintained a potential capacity for military use through the enrichment of the accumulated used nuclear fuel, plutonium. The total-war state of Japan wanted to maintain a technological capacity that would eventually develop its nuclear power for military purposes. The creation of an economic sphere of influence represented ambivalence in the Great Japan tradition, while the alternative Small Japan Asianism was recently represented by the Peshawar Project of Dr. Nakamura Tetsu.6

Small Japan Asianism does not support the military “counterterrorist”

activities of the United States in Afghanistan, nor does it try to develop a Japanese economic sphere of influence in any part of Asia. It is the basis of the Japanese ecological movement that supports the Convention of Biodiversity, which developed activities that criticize the Western ideology of assuming the supremacy of human interests over life and its diversity. It supports a decentralized nation-building that turn the regions of the country into units of participatory democracy,7 opposing the challenge of a Great Japan nationalist revisionism. This movement includes the Abe Shinzo government, which can be regarded as an ideological descendant of Yoshida Shoin.

The small Japan Asianist tradition also represents Shidehara Kijurou’s attempt to keep the Japanese military from invading China through a policy of non-expansion. The same Shidehara played a key role during the occupation in introducing the concept of the “right to live in peace,” whose logical consequence is the renunciation of military forces in Article 9, Paragraph 2. It is important to take note of this alternative state project, which fructified, with the support of American New Dealers, into the concept of the “right of all nations in the world to have their rights to live in peace,



free from fear and wants.” It is an anticolonialist concept that declares illegal all colonialist aggression, which violates the right to live in peace, and outlaws any exogenous intervention from the outside. The tradition of a small Japan Asianism was an influential alternative state project proposed by Sakamoto Ryouma and Katsu Kaishu during the Meiji Restoration.

The version of small Japan Asianism and anticolonialism was neither in support of Japan’s countercolonialist aggression against its neighboring countries, nor was it an attempt to build a strongly unified nation; rather, it is a developmentalist and a total war national mobilization. It was trying to keep pluralism from arising in the different regions in Japan by keeping them under a parliamentary rule by the feudal lords in the Upper Chamber of a new democratic parliament of the British type. This alternative state project, had it been adopted, would have made Japan an independent state similar to Thailand, maintaining a tradition of self-sufficiency rather than of unlimited national economic growth. It is only now, after the nuclear plant explosion during the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake, that this small Japan model regained support from Japanese civil society. This has been so in spite of the combined efforts of the government, the corporate circles, and the mass media to maintain the Great Japan total- war state economic project and the eventual return to a military expansionism, which was officially renounced in the Preamble of the Constitution.

The Cold War period in East Asia was an occasion to develop different types of developmentalist total-war state projects in opposition to or in cooperation with the external hegemonic influence of the United States. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is a typical example of a total war anti-imperialist state opposed to the exogenous expansionism of Japan and the United States. Juche is an alternative to Meiji Japan’s edict on education. During the Cultural Revolution, China turned into an anti-imperialist total war state as well. Its adoption of open policy altered its state project in many respects. Nevertheless, it remained unchanged in terms of its aim to develop into a prosperous state that can compete with Western hegemonic alliance through the total mobilization



of national capital, including human resources. The Republic of Korea, before and after its democratization in the 1990s, is also a total-war developmentalist state; it tries to maximize its national economic share of the world market through the mobilization of its rich national capital.8

It is unthinkable how regional integration can be achieved in this situation where national identities oppose each other. Obviously, nothing will happen unless and until Japan renounces its Great Japan Asianism. It is also unthinkable how the DPRK and the US can develop a positive path for diplomatic negotiation towards regional denuclearization unless and until US hegemonic cultural imperialism acknowledges the tradition of multicultural democracy. The role of the nonhegemonic side of the American state project played a positive role in allying with the Small Japan Project; however, this positive aspect of the American occupation of Japan was replaced with a hegemonic cultural imperialism.

The end of the Cold War did not end the American hegemonic imposition of exogenous modernization. Samuel Huntington became the new prophet of cultural imperialism in advocating the clash of civilizations.

The Obama government seems to go in this direction of multicultural democracy as proclaimed in the US Constitution, but fails to gain international confidence because of the hidden control of global political economy and cultural relations by the US government. The double standard in support of Israel is combined with another one vis-a-vis China, where economic cooperation occurs alongside politico-military tensions, especially in the Taiwan Strait. The US and Europe’s agreement in claiming their right to and obligation for humanitarian intervention is a question we will treat in the next section of this paper.

The ne The ne The ne The ne

The new Cold Ww Cold Ww Cold Ww Cold War betww Cold War betwar betwar betwar between the haeen the haeen the haeen the haeen the havvvvves and the haes and the haes and the haes and the haes and the havvvvve-noe-noe-noe-noe-notststststs We are at an interesting period of transition when modern civilization is at a critical point, which is both at its apogee and at its terminal phase. It is a time of a new global Cold War—between the haves and the have- nots—a tacit conflict between global hegemony, which tries to keep its



dominance by engaging in a cultural imperialist campaign, and the citizens and multitudes of networks of endogenous development movements.

We are in a three-level global system where the Westphalian sphere is in a terminal phase and is covered by (1) a global sphere of mega-TNCs and emerging states experiencing an unsustainable boom, (2) a chaotic sphere with islands of despair supported by transnational terrorism, and (3) islands of hope supported by NGOs, ILCs, and antihegemonic coalitions.9 The global financial order is dominated by gigantic TNCs, supported by three major industrial states—US, EU, and Japan—the so- called “industrial democracies,” which eagerly deploy “humanitarian”

intervention forces in countries where their financially-based cultural imperialism benefit. This global standard of new constitutionalism10 rules over two layers of the world system. Balancing this global rule of neoliberalism, human security plays two major roles in protecting vulnerable sectors in this new Dark Age and in empowering new agents towards the emergence of a counterhegemonic sociocultural renaissance.

The Cold War is taking place within an international system where Westphalian peace under the United Nations is no longer able to extend its control over the world; MNCs demand to be part of the global governance system, which is challenged by citizens, multitudes, and weaker states and ethnic/religious minorities challenge.

In this way, we must realize the fact that the present world we live in is no longer the Westphalian peace system proposed by Kant and that which materialized under the United Nations.

The original accumulation of Westphalian capitalism was based on the colonial expansion of successive hegemons extracting mineral and biological resources through their cultural imperialist system. This system played a dialectically positive role in the exogenous development of the non-Western world by transferring universal values of nationalism and liberalism, while establishing slavery and colonial domination.

This Westphalian peace is now in deep crisis because of the limits to economic growth characterized by Eurocentric modernity. The limits to



growth caused the apogee and the end of productive capitalism by creating a global financial capitalist system on top of the nation-state system, and a chaotic antihegemonic level where Westphalian peace could not function because of the evolution of nonstate security communities, ethnoreligious conflicts, and anti-Western and anticolonial movements between the global South and the global North.

This is how the Cold War of global cultural imperialism under the neoliberal rule of global financial standards is widening the polarization between the haves and the have-nots. The hegemony of cultural imperialism, whose global standards are symbolized by Wall Street and the World Economic Forum of Davos, triggered a diversity of antihegemonic movements in the non-Westphalian level of the world system. This included not only terrorism as a pretext for “humanitarian interventions” from the global hegemon but also a number of antihegemonic movements where citizens and multitudes gathered locally.

Their nonviolent movements were symbolized by the World Social Forums, which began in Porto Alegre in the second half of the 1990s and developed in the different regions of the global South: Asia, Africa, and the Latin American and Caribbean Region.

The crisis of the Westphalian capitalism was, in a sense, a process which allowed the development of a variety of non-Western, antihegemonic movements. To mention only some, the African antiapartheid struggle prepared the UN Conference against Racism of Durban 2001; the Bolivarian Revolution began in Central America; and the Caribbean region developed into an indigenous movement combining human rights and the right of Mother Earth. The UN Human Rights Council turned from an instrument of exogenous human rights imposition by the industrial North into a tool of the South and the peripheral countries to develop the endogenous rights of minorities, and to activate a re-evaluation of traditional values. This movement from the global South also includes attempts to reactivate non- Western regional systems: the Arab/Islamic Ummah, the Pax-Indica represented by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), and the Pax-Sinica Tienxa system.



The role of the Westphalian states was minimized by the emergence of neoliberalism in the 1980s. Yet since the Lehman Shock, the financially affluent states in North America and Europe are now called upon to extend their financial support to the affluent sectors of the weaker states to avoid their bankruptcy, which would lead to the collapse of the entire Westphalian capitalist system. The survival of the moribund financial capitalism relies on the financial support of total-war coalitions of Westphalian states of the industrial North. Dollars from the US and euros from EU are given by the rich financial institutions to the states in crisis, imposing stringent policies to the governments of subaltern states, which are forced to accept the widening gap between the haves and have-nots among their citizens. In a sense, the weaker states transfer debt bonds to vulnerable citizens and multitudes. This new kind of domestic colonialism has been causing massive demonstrations and regime changes in the Middle East.

This is why nation states, which, according to the democratic development of Westphalian states, have been traditionally expected to protect people from fear and want, are no longer able to take care of the domestic welfare of their citizens. The states, especially the weaker ones in the world market such as Libya, develop paternalistic governments and become the target of humanitarian intervention from the North.

In East Asia, the DPRK is a target of international interventionism, while Japan continues to play a countercolonialist role by allying with the United States and refusing to recognize the historical mistakes it committed when it broke the rights of neighboring nations to live in peace. Japanese cultural imperialism became the target of economic and military opposition by an equally powerful cultural developmentalist state, China. The myth of national interest created by the Westphalian political economy makes it impossible for the peoples of East Asia to develop a common security and a “common home.” In spite of the fact that the conflicts among Westphalian states became practically unrealistic, the role of the developmentalist states becomes more and more important in Northeast



Asian nations, which try to keep themselves from becoming the object of financial protection by the hegemonic North.

The tensions created by the territorial claims between the total-war states of Japan against China and Korea combines itself with another polarization between the DPRK on the one hand, and with the Republic of Korea on the other. China plays a key role in both cases because of her growing economic and military power.

In a sense, the East Asian situation is a historical remnant of the past—past colonialist expansion on one hand, and past cold-War polarization on the other. The citizens of the four developmentalist states of East Asia, whose human insecurity is growing because of their respective domestic Cold Wars, must unite and develop a common perception in the region about the futility of adhering to the myth of the balance of great power rule in the past Westphalian peace system.

East Asian civil societies must move towards a post-Westphalian approach in revising regional history distorted by the Japanese’s exogenous path to modernity (i.e. aggression and colonization justified by the logic of Westphalian peace based on cultural imperialism). The time is ripe to develop an alternative path beyond Westphalian peace in an age when its powers are forced to maintain a global order dominated by multinational corporations, which force the states to serve their interests as the only way to survive under the present global financial crisis.


RReeeeevisiting the Bvisiting the Bvisiting the Bvisiting the Bvisiting the Bandung message in this ageandung message in this ageandung message in this ageandung message in this ageandung message in this age of civilizational crisis

of civilizational crisisof civilizational crisis of civilizational crisisof civilizational crisis

We already saw that Japan had become—by her recognition of the right of peoples to live in peace—the first modern power to recognize the injustice of colonial expansion (that is bound to be accompanied by a violation of the rights of all peoples of the world to live in peace), free from fear of exogenous domination caused by the exploitation of natural resources and the labor force of respective local communities.



The present Great Japan nationalism attempts, under the leadership of Premier Abe Shinzo, to justify the aggression and violation of basic human rights and justice. Essentially, it is unacceptable to all peoples of the world, and also a serious act of betrayal against the Japanese people, who have officially recognized the mistake of the aggression and colonization committed by their leaders since the Meiji Restoration.

We already mentioned the alternative path towards a small Japan Asianism, which led some Japanese political leaders to seek the possibility for Japan to remake its history by joining the camp of the anticolonialist peoples. This was where the Bandung Conference became an important opening for Japan to join the anticolonialist countries.

Led by Takasaki Tatsunosuke, the Japanese delegation had been involved in the aggression towards China, but had also been part of the Small Japan political leaders trying to minimize the damages brought about by Japanese military expansion. Another participant, who also belonged to the Small Japan School of Thought, was the Buraku minority leader, Matsumoto Jiichiro, leader of a movement which had declared its commitment to build a world without discrimination and racism.

The Bandung Conference, which will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2015, was indeed an historical event, unforgettable yet forgotten, in view of its civilizational implication that opens new possibilities to go beyond the West-dominated Westphalian peace.11 It is often defined as a meeting of emerging new nation states who had successfully fought their anticolonial wars of liberation or had obtained their independence peacefully.

As pointed out by a unifying common experience, the Bandung Conference was not a Westphalian state-building project; it came from a much deeper sense of the injustice of colonial rule that successfully allowed them to obtain political independence; however, there is still a long way to successfully overcoming the economic and cultural aspects of Western universalist hegemony. Their message must become the basis for overcoming the past memory of the Japanese countercolonialist aggression in the regions of North and Southeast Asia. We must correctly interpret



the Bandung message, especially its non-Westphalian message that is formulated in the language of the rights of nation states.

The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence signed by Pandit Nehru and Premier Zhou En-Lai was broadened to the Ten Principles in the Declaration in Bandung. Yet the core ideas remained the same. The author of these lines remember, having been told by the members of the Indian Commission for Afro-Asian Solidarity, that the principles agreed upon by the Indian and Chinese leaders were based on the fact that both nations were composed of many nationalities and cultures under a pyramidal structure.

In India, it was the Mandala order with the emperor at the centre;

in China, it was the Tienxa also united by the emperor. The two great civilizations needed to develop a united front of all anti-imperialist forces within and between them. This is why “peaceful coexistence” and “equal mutual benefits” were extremely important in leveling the two pyramidal structures, making all components within the two emerging nations agree on the principles of cultural and economic cooperation.

The Japanese delegation in Bandung was allowed to participate through the agreement of the participants to welcome a repentant Japan from the moment it dissociated itself from its aggressive militarist leadership—that violated several countries’ rights to live in peace—through the creation of a new Constitution that denounces the injustice of colonialism. Matsumoto Jiichiro was well-known for the “Levelers Declaration” of the Buraku Liberation Movement, which demanded the building of an egalitarian state within an egalitarian world.

This is where Bandung can and should be reinterpreted, in spite of its Westphalian language, to issue a message beyond the Westphalian peace system, which accepts colonial expansion outside the West. The message in East Asia is a new interpretation of the Tienxa regional order which will now flatten its pyramidal structure and agree to the peaceful coexistence of different domestic and international identity communities.

Besides the recognition of equality between the emerging nations, aimed at achieving their respective endogenous development, the Ten



Principles of the Bandung Declaration begin with a solemn declaration of the South’s support of the Charter of the United Nations and of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We must realize the fact that this conference was an official gesture from the South for reconciliation with the North. A historical occasion which started as a process of North-South reconciliation has not yet been achieved, and is indispensable for building a new world order that is just and sustainable.

We, the Japanese, must cease to presume that our people are composed of a homogeneous unified group of people. We must realize that Japan has traditionally been a nation composed of diverse local identity communities. We must also keep a cultural tolerance towards new diaspora communities who have non-Japanese cultures and identities. The recognition of local multicultural and multiethnic pluralism in all member nations of a common home of East Asian peoples must be built by us, the citizens of East Asian nations. Such a metamorphosis is indispensable, in spite of the fact that it contradicts high national mobilization that built a total war state and facilitated Japanese, Chinese and Korean competitiveness in the neoliberal global market.

We saw that this will be possible if we accept our common historical experience of being part of the Tienxa of Pax Sinica. The Bandung principles agreed upon by the representatives of both pyramidal civilizations, Pax Indica and Pax Sinica, aim to develop an egalitarian cooperation in both civilizational spheres, in opposition to cultural imperialism. We, Japanese citizens, must be proud of the declaration made in the Preamble of our Constitution about Japan’s full recognition of the rights of people to live in peace—in repentance of the mistake of choosing the path of modernization that imitates Western colonialism and violates the rights of our East Asian neighbors to live in peace.We must join all of them in building a common home of East Asia as part of the worldwide common front against cultural imperialism. Bandung Plus Sixty will provide us with a good occasion to redo our modern history. The present trends of a global civilizational change make it possible to go back to square one and restart our modern history by correcting our mistakes.



We believe that such a remaking of history is now possible because the emergence of the post-Westphalian trends permits and invites states and non-state actors, not only in the global South, but also in the peripheries, to return to Bandung to seek the sources for building a new regional project. This project will be based on our local cultural traditions and our civilians’ historical courage to recognize past mistakes and assume the task of building a new home within the common front, in search of a new pluralistic universalism beyond the Westphalian peace system.

N o t e s N o t e s N o t e s N o t e s N o t e s

1 This article is an edited version of the paper delivered as the Keynote Address at the 5th International NGO Conference on History and Peace on 22–25 July 2013 at Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea.

2 Japan believed that colonial power was an indispensable attribute of Great Powers in the Westphalian peace system.

3 We use here the term “myth” in its Gramscian sense, which is a concept with normative psychic force. Cf. Stephen Gill, Power and Resistance in New World Order, (New York and Basington, Hampshire: Palgrave, 2003), 19.

4 We discuss the ethnopolitical aspect of non-Western Great Power projects as a manifestation of “smart Occidentalism” in “Ethno-politics in Contemporary Japan: The Mutual Occlusion of Orientalism and Occidentalism,” a forthcoming article in Proto-Sociology.

5 The Project of Colonization was stated in the “Yu-Shu Roku” of Yoshida Shouin. On Yoshida, cf. Tokutomi Sohou, Yoshida Shouin (Minyu-Sha1893), Iwanami Shoten.

6 Cf. Hatsuse Ryouhei, “Pan-Asianism in International Relations: Prewar, Postwar and Present,” in Pan-Asianism in Modern Japanese History, ed. Sven Saaler, et. al. (New York and Oxon: Routledge, 2007), 233–245.

7 Cf. Chubu ESD Kyoten Suishin Kaigi ed. Global ESD Taiwa Jigyou Hokokusho: i-dialog (Global ESD Dialogue Report) Chubu ESD Kyoten Suishinkaigi, 2011.

8 Cf. Kinhide Mushakoji, “Higashi-Asia Kaihatsushugi Shokokkaniokeru Identity Seiji:

Shimin-Shakai no Keiseiniokerru Ijusha Community no Yakuwari (Identity Politics in the Developmentalist States of East Asia: the Role of the Migrant Communities in the Formation of Civil Societies),” in Ritsumei-Kan Daigaku Jinbun-Kagaku Kenkyuujo Kiyou, no. 99 (2013): 133–147.

9 This three-layer World Order Model is a revised version of the model proposed by Akihiko Tanaka. Cf. Akihiko Tanaka, Atarashii Chusei: 21 Seiki no Sekai Shisutemu, (The New Middle-Age: The World System of the 21st Century). Nihon-Keizai Shinbun-Sha, 1996.

1 0 Cf. Stephen Gill, A. Clair Cutler eds., New Constitutionalism and World Order, Cambridge University Press, 2014.

1 1 Cf. Kinhide Mushakoji, “Bandung plus 50: a call for a tri-continental dialogue on global hegemony,” Inter Asia Cultural Studies 6:4 (2005): 510–622.



States as Managers of International Labor Migration: The Cases

of South Korea and Taiwan

Vicente Angel YBIERNAS

Assistant Professor

Department of History, De La Salle University Manila A b s t r a c t

A b s t r a c t A b s t r a c t A b s t r a c t A b s t r a c t

South Korea and Taiwan became labor-receiving countries during the long economic boom of the 1980s when they transformed into Newly Industrialized Countries (NICs). Having built their economic development around labor-intensive export-oriented industries, these countries experienced a substantial need for lesser-paid foreign migrant workers, especially after local workers either refused to work in such industries or employers found labor costs too expensive. However, the recruitment of foreign workers, while solving the initial problem of labor shortage, actually generated new and more complex dilemmas along the way, including: (1) the phenomenon of irregular migrant workers and (2) the process of integrating foreign migrant workers into the fabric of domestic society, formally (in terms of immigration status) and socio culturally. The paper explores the actions taken by the South Korean and Taiwanese states since the 1980s to address these issues and avert social conflicts. Lastly, it reveals that the policies of South Korea and Taiwan towards migrant labor diverged after the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.

Keywords: migrant workers; labor shortage; cheap source of labor;

labor-intensive export-oriented industry; Asian Financial Crisis



Introduction IntroductionIntroduction IntroductionIntroduction

THE 1980S ARE A MAJOR turning point in the histories of South Korea and Taiwan, marking a period when both enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and became newly industrialized countries (NICs). South Korea in particular grabbed the international limelight in 1988 with a successful hosting of the summer Olympic Games in Seoul, the first in which “eastern” and “western” bloc countries participated. The Olympics also announced South Korea’s “arrival” as an economic power and drew attention to its democratizing efforts.1

There is an abundance of literature that credit the developmental state regimes in both countries for the economic transformation (Johnson, 1985; Amsden 1989; Cheng 1990; Woo 1991; Evans 1995).2 The literature, in particular, points to the shift in economic policy from import substitution industrialization (ISI) to export-oriented industrialization (EOI), which helped Taiwan and South Korea transition into New Industrialized Countries (NIC) in the 1980s.3 In both cases, in the years leading to NIC- hood, EOI served a crucial purpose: economic growth led to (near or actual) full employment, which strengthened domestic political stability in the aftermath of the Kuomintang exile (1949) and the Korean War (1950–

53) for Taiwan and South Korea, respectively. At any rate, EOI in both countries—largely motivated by political factors (Cheng 1990)—was fueled by labor-intensive export-oriented industries.

Because of EOI, standards of living rose as well. Native workers began to refuse employment in the export-oriented industries because of the low pay and poor working conditions (cf. below), creating a debilitating labor shortage in South Korea and Taiwan by the late 1980s. It was at that point that South Korea and Taiwan began to look at foreign workers to fill the gap and became labor-receiving countries (Park 2008, 1; Lee 2008, 1); the South Korean case is more striking because it was a labor-sending country from the 1960s to the early 1980s, sending workers mainly to the Middle East (Park, Md Nasrudin and Pitch 2005, 1).



Even as South Korea and Taiwan turned to foreigners to solve their labor shortage in key industries in the late 1980s, they did not have an existing legal framework to deal with the employment of these workers and integrate them into their respective social and political fabric. As it turned out, foreign workers seeking higher wages (in comparison to their country of origin) came to South Korea and Taiwan in droves without proper state regulation. Ultimately, there emerged the phenomenon of migrant workers, who either entered or stayed in their host countries through irregular means (Wickramasekara 2000, 1–2).

What were the actions taken by the state to remedy this situation?

How did the state address labor shortage and maintain growth on the one hand, and manage the blatant inconsistencies of the (irregular) migrant worker phenomenon through immigration policies (or the absence thereof) on the other?

This matter takes on an even more crucial importance given Piyasiri Wickramasekara’s (2000, 33) accurate prediction at the start of the new millennium that international labor migration to East Asia would continue to increase in the years to come. As such, this matter is not just a question of chronicling the history of migrant workers in South Korea and Taiwan from the 1980s onwards. In a broader sense, this essay also seeks to interrogate the fact that the state remains a very active force—perhaps the most viable one—in mediating the effects of economic globalization within its boundaries, especially with regard to international labor migration (Ybiernas 2013). Thus, the main issue to be tackled in this essay revolves around the role of the state in labor-receiving countries in managing the complicated phenomenon of labor migration.

Secondly, the essay also seeks to prove that it is impossible for the South Korean and Taiwanese states to serve with equal fidelity the interests of these two competing groups: those of their constituencies and those of migrant workers. It is anathema to the mandate of the state to prioritize the interests of foreign migrant workers over those of its domestic constituency, who in a democratic system (such as those that existed in



South Korea and Taiwan after 1987) can hold the state responsible for its failure to advance their welfare via periodic elections. The state, however, cannot entirely disregard the interests of the foreign migrant workers, who make substantial contributions to the economy. Failure to alleviate the onerous conditions of the sizable number of migrant workers could result in social friction and ultimately undermine the security of the state. Thus, it is in the best interest of the state to maneuver between the divergent interests of these two broadly-defined groups—its domestic constituents and foreign labor—and minimize social tensions.

Beginnings of the F Beginnings of the F Beginnings of the F Beginnings of the F

Beginnings of the Fororororeign Woreign Weign Weign Weign Workorkorkorkorker Prer Prer Prer Prer Progrogrogrogrogramamamamam in South K

in South Kin South K

in South Kin South Korororororea and Tea and Tea and Tea and Tea and Taiwaiwaiwaiwaiwananananan

Taiwan in the late 1980s suffered from a chronic shortage in its low- skilled labor force (Lee 2008, 1). Lee explains that the shortage arose mainly because of the country’s economic development, which generated higher incomes and educational attainment among the native workforce.

They began to refuse low-skilled, low-paying jobs in crucial labor-intensive export-oriented industries, which created a labor gap that threatened the stability of an economy that was heavily dependent on this sector. This situation was also mirrored in South Korea at roughly the same time (Ybiernas 2013, 5–6).

Consequently, industries in both countries lobbied hard for the privilege to legally hire foreign workers. Joseph Lee and Su-wan Wang (1996, 281) disclose that as early as 1985, industrialists in Taiwan petitioned the government to allow the “importation” of low-skilled foreign workers and help address the burgeoning labor shortage. For the same purpose, South Korean business organizations such as the Korea Federation of Small Business (KFSB) pushed, to no avail, for the recruitment of foreign workers (Seol 2000, 116).

While the South Korean and Taiwanese states debated this matter from the mid- to late 1980s, they already had a sizeable population of



foreign workers, mostly irregular migrants. The number of foreign workers in South Korea grew rapidly from 6,409 in 1987 to 45,449 in 1991;

almost all of them had no proper visa or work permits (Seol 2000, 116).

Taiwan had an estimated 30,000 irregular migrants in construction and other labor-intensive industries (Lee 2008, 1). Two instances illuminate this situation further. The arrival of hundreds of Filipina household workers in the South Korean capital’s posh Gangnam district was casually reported in a 1987 edition of Dong-A Ilbo, one of Seoul’s major newspaper dailies.

These household workers were irregular migrants because the government was not yet issuing work permits at the time (cf. above). In the case of Taiwan, bishops of the Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference issued a pastoral letter dated 6 February 1989. It quoted a letter sent by the foreign workers themselves to the China Post, which was dated 12 December 1988 and published in the daily the following day. The migrants said, “we bind ourselves into hard labor that most locals don’t want” (CRBC 1989).

This letter is noteworthy in so far as it proves the public character of the irregular migrant situation in the island-nation by the late 1980s.

Two factors kept the Taiwanese and South Korean governments from formulating early and decisively a legal framework that would facilitate the recruitment of foreign workers: for political reasons, they did not want to adversely affect the employment of native workers and cause social and political conflict. There was an economic reason as well; they were unsure of the true extent of the labor shortage in key labor-intensive export-oriented industries. Shu-ju Ada Cheng (2003, 172) cited a Taiwanese legislator in 1988 who opposed the “importation of foreign workers,” predicting that their presence will create “social, educational and cultural problems” for the country. Moreover, Lee and Wang (1996, 282–286) illuminate these points further by identifying four key principles of Taiwan’s foreign labor policies: (1) restricting the importation of foreign workers to certain industries and occupations; (2) limiting the duration of the employment of foreign workers (to prevent permanent immigration);

(3) preventing the displacement of domestic workers by foreign labor;

and (4) keeping foreign workers from bringing social and health problems.



Embedded in this policy statement is the vagueness with which the Taiwanese state understood the extent of the labor shortage.

South Korea took a different route in its initial attempt to solve the problem of labor shortage in key labor-intensive export-oriented industries.

Even so, the South Korean state still sought to avoid a political and economic backlash from the entry of foreign workers into the country.

This can be seen in the case of the Joseonjok, ethnic Koreans who had moved to China during the Japanese colonial period. They comprised the largest number of migrant workers to South Korea (Park, Md Nasrudin and Pitch 2005, 4). Irregular migrants, they came to the country disguised as tourists but fully intended to work. Curiously, Athukorala maintains that the state “virtually turned a blind eye to (their) violation of immigration rules” (2006, 34).

Park, Md Nasrudin and Pitch (2005, 4) explain why the South Korean state preferred the recruitment of Joseonjok. (1) Most of them could speak Korean fluently; (2) they could get visitor’s visas easily because of their ties in and to South Korea; and (3) Korean employers had a strong sense of nationalism and a perceived shared affinity with the Joseonjeok, who were thus more acceptable than other foreign workers (ibid.). Further analysis of the reasons for preferring the Joseonjeok will expose the same kind of xenophobic tendencies among the Koreans and Taiwanese.

Seol and Skrentny (2009, 153) relate that the Roh Tae-woo administration in the late 1980s was poised to grant permanent residence and citizenship to the Joseonjok. But China protested the move, seeing it as an affront to her sovereignty. A similar attempt was made for ethnic Koreans living in Russia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, who were known as the Goyeoin during the Roh administration. This too collapsed. In the late 1980s, the Joseonjok and Goyeoin working in South Korea were still considered irregular migrants.

By 1989, the Taiwanese government decided it could not continue to hold off the recruitment of foreign workers; the Fourteen Key



Construction Project, a major public project that began in 1985, ran into a serious labor shortage problem (Liu 1994). Thus, the government decreed that migrant laborers on the said project would be given a one-year work permit, with the possibility of extension for another year (Lee 2008, 1).

Clearly, Taiwanese anxiety over opening the gates for foreign workers had not abated; the state wanted to take the conservative route in the matter.

Nevertheless, Taiwan had a headstart on South Korea, which had yet to establish a legal framework to bring in foreign workers after the Joseonjok/

Goyeoin debacle.

Evidently, the South Korean and Taiwanese states were unsure to what extent the labor force needed migrant workers, which explains why their steps appeared to be slow, clumsy even. Thus, the proposition that the state’s primary motives for allowing foreign labor stemmed from the need to shore up the labor supply was still valid at that point. And this held true until Taiwan implemented the Employment Services Act (ESA) in 1992, and South Korea enforced the Industrial Training Program for Joint Ventures (JVTP) in 1991 and the Industrial Technical Training Program for foreigners (ITTP) in 1993. By the time these programs got off the ground, recruiting migrant workers had become a remedy for the labor shortage in key labor-intensive export-oriented industries and a source of cheap labor. This became so despite the Taiwanese state’s valiant efforts to prevent the latter from occurring. The Korean state was a bit more disingenuous in the labor-shortage-versus-cheap labor debate (see below).

The initial implementation of the ESA in Taiwan, when a limited number of industries were allowed to recruit foreign workers, was only meant to address the labor shortage in key labor-intensive export-oriented industries (Cheng 2004, 98). Afterwards, the ESA evolved to become a legal mechanism that brought cheap foreign labor into Taiwan and help capitalists lower wages, albeit on a more modest scale than in South Korea.

Majority of Taiwanese businesses had traditionally consisted of “family owned small and medium-sized enterprises that could rely on flexible business strategies to find new niches in the international market” (Kaneko 2009, 24). These Taiwanese export-oriented manufacturing companies



started to feel the heat from rising competition from mainland China and Southeast Asia, where cheaper goods were being produced and exported.

Philip Liu (1994) chronicles how this phenomenon came about between 1989 and 1994 when the policy on foreign workers was initially reviewed. As mentioned, the first official and legal channel for hiring foreign workers opened in 1989 under the government’s Fourteen Major Construction Projects. Two years later, the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) also allowed foreign workers in public infrastructure projects under the Six-Year National Development Plan. Moreover, private companies in a number of industries—construction, textiles, basic metals, metal products, machinery equipment, and power and electronic equipment—received the go-signal to employ foreign laborers. At the same time, other industries experiencing a labor shortage, including fabric dyeing and electrical plating, also obtained permission to hire a limited number of foreign workers. In 1992, the CLA further approved overseas hiring for private firms in key export and manufacturing industries, such as textiles, plastics, and tires (ibid.). Later in the year, the government allowed the entry of foreign housekeepers and nannies. The following year, in 1993, businesses engaged in factory expansion or opening new factories with an investment value of more than US$1.1 million were given permission to hire migrant labor.

In sum, around 210,000 foreign workers were approved for employment before the hiring quotas set by the government were capped; of the said figure, roughly two-thirds came in 1994 alone.

A similar story, albeit with different details, may be seen in South Korea. As mentioned, after the collapse of the moves to grant the Joseonjeok and Goyeoin citizenship, the South Korean state established the Industrial Training Program for Joint Ventures (JVTP) in 1991 as a legal framework that allowed foreign workers in South Korea. Following the example of a similar program in Japan, the JVTP allowed South Korean firms with foreign affiliates to recruit a small number of “trainees” for a six-month period, which could be extended by another six months subject to approval by the Ministry of Justice. Later, even companies without



foreign affiliates were given access to the pool of foreign trainees under the ITTP (Seol 2000, 117). With the implementation of the JVTP and ITTP, the South Korean government simultaneously offered an amnesty program for irregular migrants. Under this program, Korean businesses would exchange their supply of irregular migrant workers for a fresh batch of ITTP trainees. However, as the number of trainees did not match the demand among small and medium enterprises, the demand for irregular migrant workers did not diminish.

More than its failure to replace irregular migrant workers, the JVTP/

ITTP formula was fundamentally flawed and disingenuous; it brought in

“disguised” workers who were given “allowances” roughly half the wages of irregular migrants in the labor market (Ignacio-Esteban 2000, 27). This crude exploitative move to introduce foreign labor into the market led to the desertion of around 60 percent of trainees who eventually became irregular migrants (Lim 2002, 17). Finally, as Seol (2000, 117) almost apologetically explains, the South Korean government, in a desperate attempt to alleviate the labor shortage, indirectly allowed small and medium enterprises to employ irregular workers and provided numerous extensions to the deadline to report these fugitives. This alleviation was done through “temporary legalization” or “legalizing in times of crisis.”

As the status of foreign workers changed to being a source of cheap labor to being a solution to a labor shortage, Taiwan developed a distinct advantage over South Korea. Conceivably, Taiwanese labor unions felt threatened by the influx of cheap foreign labor. Even as Taiwan accepted foreign workers for the 1989 Fourteen Key Construction Project, the authoritarian Kuomintang regime, through various legal and extralegal measures, “ensure(d) labor quiescence” to state corporatist control in Taiwan (Ho 2006, 107). The government effectively pushed through with the recruitment of foreign workers despite “strong opposition” from

“politically-weak” labor and aboriginal groups (Cheng 2004, 95).

Of course, in comparison with the JVTP/ITTP formula, Taiwan’s ESA, with its recruitment caps and other control mechanisms, was not entirely an unabashed attempt at introducing cheap labor into Taiwan.



Impulses of the State Impulses of the StateImpulses of the State Impulses of the State Impulses of the State

The initial impulse of the state in South Korea and Taiwan during the late 1980s/early 1990s was simple: it needed to address a labor shortage in and provide cheap labor for export-oriented industries; it gave little thought to the interests of the foreign workers. In this sense, according to Peter Evans’ (1995, 78) typology of the roles of the state, the South Korean and Taiwanese states served as a custodian, regulating the flow of foreign workers to ease gaps in labor supply and lower its costs.

At the same time, an important matter that needs to be raised is the accommodation of foreign workers as migrants in South Korea and Taiwan.

To start off, both nations essentially were non-immigrant countries, that is, they accommodated foreign “guest workers” but expected them to leave after a certain period. Permanent settlement was out of the question.

According to Seol (2005b, 78), non-immigrant countries like South Korea, Taiwan (and Japan and Germany) can be contrasted with “countries of immigration” such as the United States, Canada, and Australia, and with countries that “reluctantly” receive immigrants like France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In the latter two categories, the countries distinguish between immigrants and temporary migrant workers. The immigrants and temporary migrant workers are segregated using legal mechanisms such as immigration law and work permits, among others.

Thus, one can start off as a temporary migrant worker in Canada and eventually end up as an immigrant/permanent resident. In the case of South Korea and Taiwan, no such progression of status was possible; a foreign worker was simply a guest worker in those countries.

Furthermore, South Korea and Taiwan fell under the category of the “exclusionary model” of international labor migration (Castles and Miller 2003, 249–252, as cited in Seol 2005b, 78). The exclusionary model admits foreign workers only in limited sectors of the economy, in this case the key labor-intensive export-oriented industries, and not in social, civic, political, and cultural arenas. It can be contrasted with the assimilationist and multicultural models, which either seek to integrate foreign workers



into mainstream society from linguistic, cultural and social standpoints (assimilationist) or promote the coexistence between migrant groups and mainstream society. This issue is also related to the foundations of citizenship in South Korea and Taiwan. Both countries follow the principle of jus sanguinis or “blood” ties to the nation, whereas other nations base citizenship on jus soli, which bases citizenship on the person’s birthplace, or on jus domicili or residency (for a certain period of time).

The principle of jus sanguinis guides the essence of South Korea’s and Taiwan’s initial attitudes towards foreign laborers. Migrant workers were needed to address a labor shortage in key labor-intensive export- oriented industries, nothing more. It was thus not necessary for them to be sewn into the main fabric of society from a political, civic, and sociocultural standpoint. Lastly, they were not to be made permanent residents or citizens.

It is in this context that the evolution of the migrant worker situation in both countries, as seen in the next section, must be understood. It also helps explain why the migrant worker situation from the mid-1990s onwards in both countries became very volatile; there was a growing perception, accurate in most cases, that the system in both countries—

especially when the recruitment of foreign workers escalated in the mid- 1990s—was set up to exploit the migrant worker through and through.

This in turn triggered a certain degree of militancy among the migrant workers, thereby disrupting the status quo.

Escalation EscalationEscalation EscalationEscalation

After overcoming initial resistance by domestic interest groups like trade unions to the recruitment of foreign workers, the South Korean and Taiwanese governments wasted no time in expanding their respective foreign worker programs (FWP). In Taiwan, the number of foreign workers grew from 15,924 in 1992 to 248,396 in 1997 (Tsai and Hsiao 2006, Table no. 1, 6). As the figures come from official sources, they do not include irregular migrants. According to Lee and Wang (1996, 282), the number of irregular migrants could rival those of foreign workers recruited



using official channels; thus, if irregular migrants are included, the total number of foreign workers in Taiwan in 1996 would increase to 450,000 (cited in China Times Express, 13 February 1996, 4); it might be recalled that Liu’s (1994) figure for regular migrant workers in 1994 was 210,000.

Apart from the rise in the number of irregular migrants, Taiwan shifted its objectives vis-à-vis their foreign worker program (Lee 2008, 7–

8). The original goal of the FWP was to ease the labor shortage in public construction projects and labor-intensive industries, and data shows that as of 1997, about two-thirds of foreign workers in Taiwan were actually employed in manufacturing. Two-thirds of these workers in manufacturing worked for labor-intensive jobs, and the other third did so in capital- and technology-intensive occupations. By the late 1990s, Taiwan’s industrial policy gradually moved away from labor-intensive to capital- and technology-intensive industries. Naturally, the demand for foreign workers shifted from the former to the latter. Recruitment pattern for foreign workers followed suit.

In South Korea, labor-intensive export-oriented industries employed foreign workers—whether irregular migrants or not—to keep labor costs down or address a labor shortage, depending on which source one consults.

In a survey of Korean business owners in the mid-1990s, 59 percent believed that paying native workers higher wages would solve the labor shortage (Abella and Park 1994, 75, as cited in Seol 2005a, 4). Other solutions included “extending extra work hours of the existing workers”

(44 percent); “adopting labor-saving manufacturing technology” (36 percent); “employment of foreign labor” (20 percent) [ibid.]. A different survey by the Labor Ministry provided answers to why small- and medium- sized businesses hired migrant workers: 82 percent answered “inability to find indigenous workers.” This bolstered the labor shortage thesis; “low wage level” according to 46 percent of the respondents; “high productivity”

(24 percent); and “low turnover rates” (24 percent) [Song and Seol 2001, 113–114, as cited in Seol 2005a, 4–5]. A third survey found different reasons why businesses employed migrant workers. “[T]he wage level is



too low for indigenous workers,” said 78 percent; “working condition is too poor to hire indigenous workers” (59 percent); and “labor intensity is too high for indigenous workers” (32 percent)[Song and Seol 2001, 114–

115, as cited in Seol 2005a, 4–5].

Dong-hoon Seol (2005a, 10) clarifies the perception that the trade unions remained opposed to migrant workers. He reveals that, in a survey conducted by the Central Institute of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions in October 1995 (Uh and Kwon 1995, 82, cited in ibid.), the trade unions viewed migrant labor as a supplement to the native workers’

jobs. Moreover, companies in Korea presented their plans to hire migrant workers during labor-management meetings, to which the unions gave their provisional assent, with the proviso that it did not infringe on job security or working conditions of their members.

Nevertheless, whether by design or not, government policy, it may be argued, encouraged the growth of irregular migrants in Taiwan during the late 1990s. For instance, while it was illegal for foreign laborers to work without a government permit, there was no penalty for Taiwanese employers who hired—knowingly or not—irregular migrant workers.

Furthermore, there was no legislation to prosecute businesses that did so.

Instead, the irregular migrants were “permitted” to stay in Taiwan and work in construction and manufacturing, as well as in households (Liu 1996, 609). Worse, foreign workers were abused and exploited by third- party labor recruiters who lured them to Taiwan with the promise of employment, but left out important details during the recruitment process.

When the workers arrived in Taiwan, their employers withheld their passports and deducted a portion of their wages as “finder’s fees.” This did not include brokerage fees for third-party recruiters. To cap it all off, the workers would later discover that their actual jobs, wages, and living conditions were not what they were originally promised. Through it all, the Taiwanese government did not see it fit to intervene and punish those who abused and exploited the foreign workers.



Many of these stories had their counterparts in South Korea. The actions of the South Korean state moved “between strategic ambivalence and systematic exploitation” (Ybiernas 2013, 1). On the one hand, the state was generally ambivalent towards the legal implications of the irregular migrant phenomenon in so far as this served to lower the cost of labor through wages or “allowances” in the case of the ITTP trainees (6–8).

Systematic exploitation, on the other hand, manifested itself, whether willful or not, in the actions of private entities like the Korea International Training Cooperation Corps (KITCO), the Korea Federation of Small Businesses (KFSB), the Korea Fisheries Federation, and the Korea Construction Federation, who were given public franchises to recruit trainees under the ITTP on their own (9). As in Taiwan, these private entities were accused of partnering with third-party recruiters who collected exorbitant brokerage fees from the trainees. There were also similar reports of passport confiscation and misrepresentation of jobs, wages, and living arrangements in Korea.

Despite the onerous circumstances, the plight of foreign workers in South Korea and Taiwan had not yet found its way into public consciousness, partially because their migrant worker population was relatively small. Indeed, foreign workers in South Korea and Taiwan, as newly minted labor-receiving countries, accounted for only 3 percent of the total labor force by the middle of the 1990s (Athukorala 2006, 20).

In contrast, in other more established labor-receiving states in East and Southeast Asia such as Hong Kong and Singapore, the ratio was more than 20 percent and 10 percent, respectively, of the total labor force. This partially explains why the migrant labor situation did not become a national controversy in Taiwan and South Korea before the new millennium despite the efforts of the migrants themselves and non-government organizations (NGOs) that supported them (Tsai and Hsiao 2006, 8).4



TABLE 1: Municipalities of Capiz under three assembly districts in 1907 (ibid., 200)

Mga Sanggunian



Children learn to be comforta- ble with adults in the church, they are assured of adults valuing them, they find their place in the faith community, they learn to explore faith, and