The Institute is engaged in policy-oriented research, which includes analysis of the basis for policy formulation and decision-making, as well as the effects of policies, proposals for modification of existing policies, and proposals for new policies. The main policy areas covered are diplomacy and security, industry and trade, economics and society, + technology, and constitutional politics, ranging from diplomacy to domestic affairs.
The researchers include politicians, diplomats, university faculty, bureaucrats, executives, and researchers from government research institutes and private companies. Through constant secondment from government agencies and private companies, the Institute is able to produce high-level research results while making the most of our on-the-ground sense of policy formation. Secondees from the public and private sectors include personnel from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cabinet Office, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Bank of Japan, Policy Investment Bank, JETRO, East Japan Railway Company, and Nippon Steel Corporation. Based on the aspiration of Nakasone Yasuhiro, the founder and first chairman of the organization, to “study in depth the important issues facing the international community from an independent standpoint and disseminate creative and constructive proposals widely at home and abroad,” researchers often engage in research in their particular subject of interest and publish essays in journals and on the website. The Institute manages these research projects.
The results of the Institute’s research are disseminated in a variety of ways both domestically and internationally, including symposia, research conferences, NPI Quarterly and Asia-Pacific Review published by the Institute, digital newsletters, the Institute’s website, and the publication of monographs. In addition, NPI regularly holds seminars with think tanks in the U.S., China, Taiwan, Korea, and other countries through mutual visits and meetings, and has an extensive network of researchers and policy practitioners in other countries with whom information and opinion exchange is conducted.
At the same time, the Institute welcomes young researchers as interns and places importance on training the researchers who will lead in the future.
In 2020, we were awarded a grant from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) for research and study on diplomacy and security in the fields of “Security” (Field B) and “Issues Related to New Domains (Cyber, Space, and AI)” (Field E), and are actively conducting research on these themes.
Diplomacy and Security
The Institute is conducting extensive research into Japan’s diplomacy and security policies. Needless to say, the pillars of our research are Japan’s diplomacy and security, and the Japan-U.S. alliance, but close attention is also given to the situation in China and the Korean Peninsula, with priority to analyzing recent developments in China. Of course, U.S.-China relations and the state of the international order are also important areas of research. In addition to overall diplomatic relations, in recent years analysis has been focused on individual areas such as maritime security, space, and cyber.
Industry and Trade
The confrontation between the U.S. and China and the Novel Coronavirus are having a serious impact on Japan’s economy, including corporate activities, and measures must be taken from the perspective of economic security. In particular, as the digital economy advances and the role of technology and intellectual assets becomes more important, the traditional paradigm cannot be applied. Japan needs to restore its industrial competitiveness, especially in terms of technology, and Japan should also contribute to the formation of new international rules. We are researching policies that will ensure Japan’s economic security while maintaining free trade principles.
Economy and Society
The Economy and Society Study Group conducts research on the impact of the Novel Coronavirus on Japan’s economy and society. The effects of the Novel Coronavirus are affecting many areas, including macroeconomics and urban and regional structures. In this context, we intend to find constructive directions for regional policies, industrial strategies, and economic and social policies.
We will analyze and consider the impact of digital and other advanced technological innovation and expansion on the economy, finance, international relations, and international security from a global perspective in terms of both potential and risk. We will then examine issues and propose solutions for Japan as well as a direction that can be presented to the world. Utilizing a network of experts from industry, academia, and government, we will organize terms and concepts that are often thought to be difficult to understand in an easy-to-understand manner, and will also be attentive to values and psychology, which are important in implementing technologies.
Constitutional reform was the life work of Nakasone Yasuhiro, the founder and first chairman of the Institute. The Institute has published research reports and proposals on constitutional issues, including proposals for constitutional revision. In the future, we will continue to study and make proposals on the state of Japanese politics from a macroscopic perspective, ranging from major issues such as the search for the ideal state to specific issues such as parliamentary reform.
The role of a think tank is to analyze policy-oriented issues, and, at the same time, to present concrete policy proposals. In Japan, policy-related information, knowledge, and expertise are concentrated in government offices, and proposals from the private sector tend to be inferior in quality and quantity. In our policy-oriented research and proposals, we believe that it is essential to stay a few steps ahead of current politics. Even if a proposal is criticized as premature when it is announced, if it is adopted 10 to 20 years later, for example, it will have made a significant contribution. It is with this spirit that we will continue to focus our efforts on policy proposals.