The National Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA) is an independent policy research body established on the initiative of leading figures from Japan's industrial, academic, labor and local government communities. NIRA was established on March 25, 1974 under the National Institute for Research Advancement Act and is funded through an endowment made up of capital contributions and donations from both the public and private sectors.
NIRA's primary objective is to conduct comprehensive research in order to contribute to the resolution of a variety of complex contemporary social, economic and lifestyle issues. The institute's research traces the changes occurring in the present era, and focuses on policy issues in a wide range of areas, including economics, politics, society, administration, national land development, social welfare, education, and international issues.
NIRA will transform itself into an incorporated foundation by the end of fiscal 2007. Following this transformation, we will conduct research as the core of a multi-disciplinary knowledge network, making our findings available in a timely fashion and in a form that is easily comprehensible to non-specialists, while aiming also to become an intellectual hub that will invigorate policy discussion and make an even greater contribution to the policy-making process.
The importance of making the Japanese public more broadly aware of policy issues and the problems that Japan as a nation will have to overcome is increasing. This makes transparency and understandability essential in policy discussions. With these requirements in mind, and in view of NIRA's role and mission of invigorating policy discussion and contributing to the policy-making process, from fiscal 2007 we are making changes in the style of our research.
Style of Research: Four Reforms
NIRA will implement the following four reforms:
(1) NIRA will conduct research as the core of a multi-disciplinary knowledge network, making use of human resources from outside the institute;
(2) NIRA will make information available in a rapid and timely manner and in a form that is easily comprehensible to non-specialists;
(3) Results will become research "capital"; and
(4) Cooperation with regional areas will be enhanced.
Research Themes: Three Areas
NIRA will endeavor to conduct pioneering and interdisciplinary policy-related research which is of clear public benefit and which will be of medium- and long-term importance for the central and local governments. In doing so, the institute will systematically organize major policy issues into the three fields of "national politics," "international relations" and "regional areas."
(1) In areas related to national politics and international relations, we will first formulate position papers on "Issues Facing Japan." Based on these position papers, we will conduct continuing research on a number of policy issues of particular importance, making the results available each year. The results will further be organized and archived in order to serve as a reference in the policy-making process.
(2) In issues related to regional areas, we will consider regional research needs and conduct practical research in cooperation with regional actors.
Research Activities: Four Pillars
NIRA will implement research activities on the basis of the following four principles, which will function as the "pillars" of its research activities: (1) NIRA will analyze and evaluate policies and make policy proposals (monographs, research reports, etc.): (2) NIRA will focus closely on problematic areas of policy issues and outline their essential points in a readily comprehensible manner (Policy Reviews, Dialogue Series): (3) NIRA will provide opportunities for policy discussions to improve the quality of policy analysis in Japan (Policy Forums, etc.): and (4) NIRA will develop infrastructure for policy research (case studies).
In addition, NIRA will provide information on its website and distribute an e-mail magazine in order to announce its successive activities.
PROVISION OF INFORMATION CONCERNING
DOMESTIC AND OVERSEAS THINK TANKS
NIRA will systematically and continuously collect, organize, study and analyze information on the research activities of domestic and overseas think tanks and make this information widely available in databases. We will also make available bibliographic information on periodicals published in English by major research institutes throughout the world via Policy Research Watch (PRW), a database which can be accessed on our website. In addition, we provide Japanese and English editions of the Policy Research Index, which introduces and summarizes selected papers in the PRW, for the domestic and international policy communities. The policy research information discussed above can be accessed on NIRA's website.
NIRA Top Page
Copyright (c) National Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA)