2011 TOEFL Scholarship Winners’ Voice



アヌグラ イクラさん
アヌグラ イクラさん
米国 オハイオ大学進学
Iqra Anugrah
Ohio University, the United States
Currently I have been working to complete my one-year MA program in Political
Science with a specialization in Comparative Politics at Ohio University, Athens, OH. During my stay here in the US, I have been immersing myself in a variety of activities. I continue participating in student activities and writing for several mass media and online publications, and recently I just attended the 11th Annual International Graduate Student Conference on the Asia-Pacific Region at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, organized by the East-West Center to present my research titled “Political Parties and Religious Local Ordinances in Post-Suharto Indonesia”.

アヌグラ イクラさん授業の様子
【Presenting about “Political Parties and Religious Local Ordinances” at the 11th Annual
International Graduate Student Conference (IGSC) on the Asia Pacific Region organized
by the East-West Center (EWC) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM),
Honolulu.(Feb 17-18, 2012).】

Getting the conference certificate
【Getting the conference certificate】

– About the Scholarship Program
The 2011 TOEFL Scholarship Program in Japan has been greatly helpful in supporting
my study here in the US. With the help of the scholarship, along with graduate
assistantship from my university and other forms of financial supports from my
department, I have been able to pursue my graduate study without any worries.- Message to people who are planning to study abroad
Studying abroad is always a good experience. What more important is not learning in
the classrooms, but learning from our own experience immersing and exposing
ourselves in someone else’s cultures and societies. At times, it may be difficult to go
overseas to study, but when there is a will, there is always a way (especially if you can
get generous support from sponsors/institutions like TOEFL for instance).


2011 TOEFL® Scholarship Winners from Japan

The 2011 TOEFL® scholarship winners from Japan were honored in a ceremony that took place July 19, 2011 and was attended by ETS Global BV Managing Director Dr. Zoubir Yazid.


Meet the 2011 TOEFL scholarship winners from Japan. Each one is an excellent student with tremendous potential both inside and outside of the classroom.

Iqra Anugrah
Iqra Anugrah, Oita (US$4,000)

  • Pursuing a masters of arts in political science at Ohio University.
  • Extracurricular activities: Involved in student activism, student journalism, and academic conferences, seminars and symposia. Active in a number of student organizations, including the Indonesian Students’ Association in Japan and its affiliated institutions.
  • Country of study: The United States because Anugrah believes the U.S. has rigorous academic traditions and a sociopolitical environment which encourages students to be socially concerned and put theories into practice.
  • Goal in 5–10 years: Wants to enhance the collegial spirit among social and political scientists in Indonesia and establish theIndonesian Journal of Political Science as one of the most referred journals for social and political science in Indonesia and Southeast Asia. Set up a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) that focuses on grassroots politics and education, to promote citizen participation in the political process.

Link: http://www.ets.org/toefl/scholarships/overview/japan/winners/


Disaster Politics and Non-Traditional Security in the Asia-Pacific

Disaster Politics and Non-Traditional Security in the Asia-Pacific


The recent series of disasters in Japan has prioritized the importance of disaster mitigation. Starting from earthquakes and tsunamis in Tohoku area which are still continuing, followed by nuclear power plant issues in Fukushima which has already reached level 7, the highest emergency level in international nuclear standards, the calamities have caused an enormous number of victims and internally-displaced people. There have been growing concerns not only in Japan, but also in the rest of the world on how to handle the situation. Putting aside the powwows in the media, there is a popular push for a greater transparency from the authorities, especially from the Japanese government and TEPCO or Tokyo Electric Power Company following their handling of Fukushima nuclear power plant crisis.

Reflecting from the Japanese experience, there are two lessons learned from this case. First, regionally speaking, the Asia-Pacific possesses the same vulnerability as Japan in facing the danger of disasters. Second, it is clear that disaster issues have a significant political and security dimension. In the discipline of International Relations, the risk of natural disaster, along with a variety of other problems such as disease epidemic and climate change, is categorized under the umbrella of Non-Traditional Security Threats or NTS. Whereas traditional security perspective focuses on state as the main agent and perpetual threat in international politics and puts more emphasis on military-based measures, NTS threats are largely nonmilitary, asymmetric, and transnational in nature. Japan’s situation is an obvious example of NTS challenge, which requires an immediate effort of “securitization”.

Politics of Disaster

To securitize and mitigate the impacts of disaster, a collaboration of state and societal responses is essential for an effective disaster mitigation policy. Despite many criticisms on the transparency of the administration, Japan has shown how the combination of sound public policy and social solidarity among citizens complemented with a good infrastructure and relief system is the key to bring about post-disaster stability.

The question that needs to be posed is how to implement such kind of policy at regional level, especially in the Asia-Pacific where there is a high level of disaster vulnerability and diverse profiles of socio-economic, demographic, and mitigation systems. The use of nuclear energy and its socio-political effects are also another factor which will also trigger various pros and cons in the public space As a geographically vulnerable region, it is imperative for every regional actor in the Asia-Pacific to develop regional mechanism to tackle NTS challenges, in order to promote regional resilience and readiness in the field of NTS, in particular to promote disaster preparedness among the policymakers as well as the citizens.

The spotlight should also be directed to the developing part of the Asia-Pacific, for instance Indonesia, the Philippines, and other countries in Southeast Asia to name a few, considering the fact that these countries, which are lacking capacity in disaster management, have been frequently affected by natural calamities, such as the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004 and the Kestana Typhoon in 2009. In the light of this argument, the move for transnational and regional initiatives is more important than ever.

Changing Contour of Japanese Politics

The unpredictable natural catastrophe in Japan will reshape the domestic, regional, and international dynamics of disaster politics in the upcoming years in many ways.

First, compared to many other countries, even the developed ones, Japan has set the standard on disaster mitigation and the management of its impacts. The secret of Japan’s competence in maintaining social order and solidarity lies in the close cooperation between state and society, manifested in public policies and infrastructures, and more importantly, ethical values of solidarity, orderliness, and altruism. It is important to note that this spirit is not built overnight, but a result of incentive-based policies of encouraging the value of social cohesion as a virtue.

Second, the current condition of the Fukushima story indicates that although the Japanese government has done the right thing, there is a lack of transparency from the government and TEPCO in dealing with the nuclear issue. In order to gain the public trust, it is necessary to have a better communication with the citizens; otherwise the public distrust may continue to grow.

Third, the disaster has unexpectedly transformed the nature of Japanese politics. For the incumbent Democratic Party of Japan or DPJ, who is a newcomer in Japanese politics, this is a test for the party’s competency in responding to public demands. Concurrently, we also witness the rise of alternative politics and social movement in Japan, as can be seen in the latest anti-nuclear protests in Tokyo.

Japanese Lessons for Vulnerable Asia-Pacific

There are a couple of steps that can be taken into future consideration for the Asia-Pacific in the aftermath of the tragedy in Japan.

The existing regional mechanism for NTS challenges should be translated into a set of concrete policies and action plans. At the moment, ASEAN has a number of agreements on NTS. However, it is crucial to implement this instrument not only within the institution, but also with other entities as well. Joint cooperation on NTS between China and ASEAN, for example, ought to be executed in a more concrete manner.

In regards to people’s participation in disaster mitigation, what the region needs now is the state capability to integrate social solidarity in the policy framework of disaster management, as exemplified by Japan. Furthermore, the media should also act as the channel of impartial information and reporting of the truth, rather than the tool of instigating public panic. Last but not the least, enhancing the state capacity in the Asia-Pacific will be the key in coping with the hazard of disaster and other NTS threats. At the end of the day, it is the state that should act and take the lead.

*Iqra Anugrah is a Master student at Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan. He is actively involved in a number of student movements.

Exclusive Interview with Professor Yamazaki Ryuichiro

Beijing taking the place of Tokyo as a centre of American Asia Pacific strategy is, in part, mass media sensationalism.

Professor YAMAZAKI Ryuichiro


Visiting Professor, APU

Ambassador & Deputy Permanent Representative to United Nations (1999)

Spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry and of Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori (2000)

Ambassador to Vietnam (2001)

Ambassador & Chief Negotiator for WTO (02)

Ambassador to Philippines (04-07)

1. What is the main agenda of Obama’s visit?

President Obama was attending APEC Summit in Singapore on 14th November, and it was quite obvious that he would visit Japan, Korea and China on this trip because these three countries are the key regional players. The main agenda in Tokyo was to discuss several bilateral issues as well as to address global issues of mutual concern such as the world economy and climate change.

1. Unlike Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, why did President choose Japan as his  first destination in Asia?

Japan is a long-standing ally of the US, sharing many political and economic values, and our bilateral relations are under-pinned by the Japan-US security alliance. While in Tokyo, President Obama delivered a major Asia policy speech. His schedule in Tokyo manifests the importance that President Obama and his Administration place upon the crucial relations with Japan. Even in the present age of globalization, Japan still is the gateway to Asia for the US..

2. Just last month, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates shut the door of negotiation on relocating US military base in Okinawa. But during his recent visit, Obama seemed to have reopened that door. Why has the change come so suddenly?

Okinawa base issue was not the main topic of President Obama’s visit. The two leaders did agree to continue discussions on this issue at Ministerial level.

3. Prime Minister Hatoyama has been talking a lot about ‘equal partnership’. What does he specifically mean by that?

Actually, ‘Equal Partnership’ is not a new concept, and President Obama himself has endorsed such relationship since taking office. The word “Partnership” itself indicates a relationship between equals. And it is clear that US and Japan, being the first and second largest economies in the world, equal partnership is a dynamic concept that not only benefits both countries, but also benefits  the rest of Asia and ultimately the world.

4. Why is Premier Hatoyama calling for a greater East Asia Community? Does that not strain its relationship with US?

PM Hatoyama wants to bring out every potential of Japan, China and Korea to help solve the present global economic crisis, and especially in Asia by tapping the potentiality of the other dynamic economies in Asia-Pacific. An open institution in the form of an “East Asia Community” would serve such purpose. This kind of institution building would not pose any problems to Japan’s relationship with US because the results of such efforts would also benefit the US. In fact, by creating an East Asia Community sometime in the future, I think the region would ultimately open up itself more to the rest of the world, especially to the US.

5. Lastly, with China’s rise as a major economic and military power, do you think that China is more important for US today than Japan?

China has always been an important neighbor for Japan, and comparing Japan and China  vis-à-vis American importance is not a constructive approach. The notion of Beijing taking the place of Tokyo as the centre of American Asia Pacific strategy is, in part, mass media’s sensationalism.

The fact is that China is important to both US and Japan, while Japan is also important to both US and China., The overall relationship among our three countries is already so deep and interconnected, in this age of globalization, that there are plenty of opportunities to make it a win-win situation for all three, while being careful to take into consideration the benefits of 

countries other than these three, especially in the Asian region.

*By Iqra Anugrah, published in The APU Times, 3 December 2009


Press Release: 17th ISM-IJFF 2008: Today’s Researcher, Tomorrow’s Leader

Tokyo, 25-26 August 2008

Rainy summer of Japan did not hinder Indonesian students around Japan to gather and present their academic works in the 17th Indonesian Students’ Scientific Meeting and Indonesia-Japan Friendship Forum (ISM-IJFF) 2008 at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT), organized by Indonesian Student Association in Japan (PPI) chapter Kanto in-cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Japan (KBRI). More than a hundred research abstracts had been submitted, with various topics start from applied sciences, life sciences, medical sciences, natural sciences, to social sciences.

On the first day of the ISM, numerous activities were arranged, start from dozens of presentations of research projects from fellow Indonesian students and researchers around Japan, and lectures from professors, professionals, and government officials both from Japan and Indonesia. The 17th ISM started with opening ceremony marked by report from the Chairperson of ISM-IJFF 2008, Muhammad Sahlan, and speech from the Chairperson of PPI, Deddy Nur Zaman, President of TUAT, Prof. Hidefumi Kobatake, and Indonesian Ambassador, Dr. Jusuf Anwar. The program continued with IJFF. In this session, Dr. Edison Munaf, attaché of education of KBRI, gave a presentation about education system in Indonesia. This year, in commemoration of 50 years of golden friendship between Indonesia and Japan, various cooperations especially in academic fields are also established. As the manifestation of IJFF, TUAT as one of universities in Japan which focuses on agriculture and technology and University of Gadjah Mada (UGM), one of leading universities in Indonesia, established a MoU to strengthen academic and research cooperation between two universities. TUAT side was represented by Prof. Hidefumi Kobatake, while UGM were represented by Prof. Retno. S. Soedibyo, vice president of research of UGM, who also gave presentation about UGM’s profile.

After lunch, the second session of IJF resumed with lectures about Indonesia-Japan relationship from former Japanese Ambassador to Indonesia, Mr. Sumio Edamura and Indonesian Ambassador Dr. Jusuf Anwar. Ambassador Sumio Edamura delivered a lecture about the comparison and similarities between Indonesian and Japanese language and culture, While Ambassador Jusuf Anwar emphasized more on political and economic relationship, especially after the signing of EPA.

At the night, first day of ISM was closed by general meeting of PPI and workshop from Association of Indonesian Alumni from Japan (PERSADA).

Second day of the ISM discussed another important issue which has drawn many attentions from global community, including Indonesia and Japan, energy availability. Two forum sessions titled “Indonesian Biomass for Energy Alternative” discussed current issues about energy from Indonesian and Japanese perspectives. These two sessions were moderated by Prof. Wuled Lenggoro from TUAT. In first forum session, Dr. Unggul Prayitno from Board of Research and Application of Technology (BPPT),

Mr. Yoshinori Satake from METI, and Prof. Masayuki Horio from Waseda University gave lectures about current energy condition in Indonesia and Japan and the need of new perspectives to tackle this issue. Second forum session resumed with lectures from Dr. Arif Yudiarto from BPPT, Mr. Issei Sawa from Mitsubishi, and Mr. Pria Indira from Indonesian state oil and gas company (Pertamina), which discussed about current policies for energy alternative and also strategies for future, both from government and industry perspectives.

Finally the 17th ISM-IJFF ’08 was closed by Prof. Wuled Lenggoro with great applause from the audiences. He expressed his appreciation for this event and hoped that ISM will be a sustainable forum for Indonesian students and researchers in Japan to present, share, and exchange their ideas for Indonesia’s development. Will the next ISM repeat this success? We’ll see later!

(Iqra Anugrah, 2nd Year student of College of Asia Pacific Studies Ritsumeikan APU)