日本を動かす知をつなぎ、政策課題を論じ、ビジョンを提示するシンクタンク

Top > President's Message

About NIRA

Motoshige Ito

The Increasing Importance of Japan’s Think Tanks

Japanese society and the Japanese economy are undergoing significant changes. The economic policies, collectively termed “Abenomics,” which are being promoted by the Abe Cabinet are attracting considerable attention both within Japan and overseas. These policies have also attracted a broad range of reactions, ranging from high expectations for a changing Japanese economy to concerns regarding what is perceived as overly aggressive monetary easing. At precisely such a time, the role of think tanks in gathering accurate data, bringing together specialized perspectives, and issuing timely studies and proposals in a readily understandable form increases in importance.

The Nippon Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA) is a think tank which holds a central position in Japan’s policy community, and which can be justifiably proud of the record of important outcomes produced by its research activities during its more than 30 years as a semi-governmental institution and its seven years as an incorporated foundation. Many members of the policy community, holding NIRA’s record of achievement in high esteem, have participated in NIRA research projects, assisting us in realizing even more outstanding research outcomes. Unless it forms close cooperative relationships with external actors, including representatives of the academic community, individuals active in the political arena, journalists, specialists and experts throughout the world, and other research institutions, a think tank will be incapable of producing high-quality outcomes. NIRA, with its long history, is particularly blessed in this respect. Appealing to our neutral position as a not-for-profit Public Interest Incorporated Foundation, in future we will continue to further deepen our relationship with these external individuals and institutions.

In order to put the correct policies into effect and institute the necessary changes in society, it is essential to receive broad-based public support. This is not an era in which a small number of insiders will decide policy behind closed doors. In the case of policy issues in which interests are deadlocked and compromise is difficult, such broad public support could help to achieve a breakthrough. There is a need, therefore, for careful analysis of the substance of the issues and communication of the findings in a readily understandable manner. This is the role of think tanks, and we can expect it to promote an increased interest in policy issues among the public. NIRA’s website is one means of contributing to this goal, and we hope that as many people as possible will visit and consider our reports and policy proposals.

I have indicated above that think tanks should offer research outcomes and policy proposals in a timely fashion. However, unless it is also able to offer robust and deeply-considered proposals in relation to medium- and long-term issues, a think tank’s existence has no meaning. Given this, it is not our intention that NIRA should pursue rapid outcomes; rather, we will proceed steadily, step by step, continuing to accumulate results. Happily, NIRA possesses many years of experience in the field of policy research. Guided by this experience, when studying important issues, we will implement research program after research program, working to respond to the expectations placed upon us through the power of persistence and continuity. We believe that our most important function is to conduct continuous research in areas including Japan’s financial problems, the dynamically changing economies of Asia, approaches to democracy and the market economy, the nature of changes in the industrial economy, and employment and human resources issues. We hope that you will continue to take an interest in NIRA’s activities and offer your intellectual support into the future.

Motoshige Itoh
President
Nippon Institute for Research Advancement

June 2013

Page Top