A New Start for the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research
October 1, 2021
Message from the President
The twenty-first century arrived with promises of a peace dividend and a brighter future, giving hope that the two devastating World Wars and the subsequent Cold War of the previous century were now behind us. The reality, though, has been a surge of new challenges. We are facing environmental degradation not only on land and sea but also in space. We have become more socially distant under a raging pandemic. And political instability is creating flash points that threaten our peaceful way of life.
With the aim of enhancing our presence in the global think tank community, the Tokyo Foundation in 2018 was reorganized into an institute for rigorous, quality research on major policy issues. Renamed the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research, we have since worked to offer society a broader range of policy options that lead to changes for the better both in Japan and around the world.
To more clearly identify the direction of our research and solidify our standing as one of Japan’s leading public policy think tanks, we are now launching a new system of research programs under the leadership of Executive Director and CEO Yuichiro Anzai. Our research activities will focus on five major domains in delivering “People-Centered Policies” to truly address the needs of society. I look forward to working closely with our partners and stakeholders in the policymaking community as we take this new step forward.
Message from the CEO
International society is undergoing a seismic shift, as liberal democracy, free-market capitalism, and other institutions that had long been ascendant are increasingly being challenged by autocratic regimes and political figures. Further undermining our way of life and sense of security are global warming, human rights abuses, religious conflict, infectious diseases, and the digital divide. In Japan, quality of life is eroding in the face of a shrinking youth population, an outdated “convoy” system of industrial development, plummeting per capita GDP, widening wealth and regional disparities, the slow pace of digitalization, ballooning public debt, and political-bureaucratic discord.
How can a public policy think tank in Japan play a more constructive role at a time of such sweeping change? There are many hints to be gleaned from people’s reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic. In spite of the often chaotic and muddled response of our political leaders and government officials, most people in Japan proactively took the steps needed to safeguard themselves and their fellow citizens, helping prevent an explosion of infections in the country. This suggests it is still possible to shape our public sphere on the concepts of personal freedom and dignity.
The path forward for the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research, I believe, is to articulate the needs of private individuals and anticipate future developments in Japan and the world in offering reasonable, practicable, and evidence-based policy proposals that can help build a public sphere supportive of personal freedom and dignity.
It is with this in mind that we decided to revamp our research structure, introducing a system of research programs in April this year and launching research activities under our new setup on October 1.
With this reorganization, we have redefined the focus of our research into the following five domains: (1) economy, fiscal policy, environment, resources, energy; (2) health, medical services, nursing care; (3) education, human resources development, employment, social security; (4) science, technology, innovation; and (5) digital revolution, social transformation through digitalization. Researchers will be encouraged to adopt a broad perspective in pursuing their activities, keeping an eye on historical precedents and international trends.
Approximately 80 researchers are now engaged in some 30 programs that began on October 1, analyzing major issues in the five domains cited above and identifying potential solutions. We look forward to working with and sharing our insights with colleagues in the think tank community and to delivering “People-Centered Policies” that truly meets the needs of everyone in society.