Japan has experienced dramatic changes over the course of the past three decades. It is now essential for the nation to transform its structure of governance in order to become a more mature democracy. In terms of the policy-making process, it will be necessary for Japan to transfer authority from the central government to local governments, and to replace the present bureaucracy-led system with one in which the initiative is taken by political parties and the private sector. In addition, in order to revitalize the Japanese economy and resolve the issues facing contemporary Japan, including the nation's declining birthrate, it will be essential to offer citizens a greater diversity of policy alternatives, thus increasing the range of choice available. Against this background, The Nippon Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA) will play a central role.

Established on the initiative of leading figures from Japan's industrial, academic, labor, and local government communities, NIRA was founded in March 1974 as a semi-governmental organization under the Nippon Institute for Research Advancement Act. In 2007, as part of administrative reform initiatives instituted by the Japanese government, the institute became an incorporated foundation. In 2011, NIRA was accredited by the government as a public interest incorporated foundation, and since then has continued its activities under a new framework. Since its establishment, NIRA has functioned as an independent policy research organization, adopting comprehensive perspectives in addressing a wide range of complexly interrelated issues affecting contemporary society and generating a wide range of proposals with a view towards making a positive contribution towards the formulation of policy.

Japanese society is facing further profound changes, and the nation's policy research institutes are urgently required to adopt new roles. NIRA will strive to adapt itself as necessary while continuing to conduct its activities for the public good. At the same time, from the more independent standpoint that its status as a public interest incorporated foundation gives it, NIRA will work diligently to present bold policy proposals and to make information available in a timely fashion in order to further stimulate policy discussion and make an even greater contribution to the policy-making process.

We sincerely appreciate the support that all of our stakeholders have offered us thus far, and hope that we may rely on your continuing support for NIRA’s activities.

Jiro Ushio
Nippon Institute for Research Advancement