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About NIRA

Introduction
Since its establishment in 1974 as a semi-governmental organization under the Nippon Institute for Research Advancement Act, the Nippon Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA) has conducted comprehensive research in order to contribute to the resolution of a variety of complex contemporary social, economic and lifestyle issues. As a result of government reform initiatives, NIRA changed its juridical status in November 29, 2007, becoming an incorporated foundation. NIRA’s aims, however, remain unchanged, and the institute will continue to conduct its activities for the public interest.

In its new form, NIRA seeks to present bolder policy proposals and to make information available in a timely fashion in order to stimulate policy discussion and contribute more actively to the policy-making process. As globalization advances and the nation’s population ages, Japanese society is facing profound structural changes, a situation that urgently requires the nation’s research institutes to adopt new roles. NIRA therefore views its change in organizational status as an opportunity to reform its research system to meet the demands of a new era.

Research Activities
Japanese society is facing enormous changes, and Japan as a nation is under pressure to respond to a variety of issues, including the aging of the population, future arrangements for medical treatment and pension payments for the elderly, the status of the economy, increasing economic disparity, the revitalization of regional economies, and the problems associated with globalization. It is essential that we rapidly identify the implications of these issues for public policy on the basis of comprehensive, independent and interdisciplinary analysis and propose appropriate policy responses.

NIRA attempts to stimulate policy discussion and contribute to the policy-making process through timely analysis of issues and the dissemination of results in an easily comprehensible form. Using networks of scholars, researchers and specialists in a diverse range of fields, NIRA endeavors to rapidly grasp the essentials of issues, and to outline concrete policy proposals in response to them.

Areas of Research
With a focus on the three areas of domestic social and economic policy, international relations, and regional issues, NIRA will attempt to clarify the issues confronting Japan and formulate appropriate policy proposals.

Japan is facing large-scale structural changes proceeding from the aging of its population. This is generating a variety of issues, one of the most urgent of which is a decline in the working population. NIRA will analyze and present proposals concerning the changes in institutional design required in a wide range of fields, including the reform of social systems in response to the diversification of forms of employment, the reform of the pension and medical care systems, and reforms necessary from the perspective of achieving sustainable medium- and long-term growth and sound finances.

Looking internationally, NIRA will analyze the progress of globalization and propose relevant measures for Japan. From the domestic perspective, we will study regional needs, analyze mechanisms of regional development with consideration of the viewpoints of the major regional actors, and propose measures for the revitalization of regional economies.

Style of Research
NIRA will function as the core of a research network, enabling individuals with specialized knowledge in diverse fields to come together to conduct research and share information.

We will identify the policy issues that are most urgent from the perspective of the Japanese public, and will expedite their analysis in order to enable the formulation of policy proposals.

In addition, we will attempt to disseminate information to the public in a timely manner and an easily comprehensible form in order to stimulate policy discussion.

NIRA Publications
● Opinion Papers: Produced by both NIRA researchers and guest researchers, NIRA Opinion Papers offer the expansive thinking concerning the most important issues facing Japan that is demanded in a time of profound change.
● Research Reports / Publications: Selecting important themes for study, we convene research groups made up of a number of specialists and experts from a variety of research fields to engage in multifaceted analyses. Research Reports present the outcomes of this research process.
● My Vision: For this publication, we conduct interviews with a number of experts, enabling us to concisely present a diverse range of opinions concerning the problems directly facing Japan. Our interviewees also each recommend a book concerning the theme of the issue.
● Policy Review: Each Policy Review takes up a specific theme, and offers a timely presentation of diverse considerations via discussions with experts at the forefronts of their fields.
● Dialogue Series: In our Dialogue Series, NIRA’s attempts to delineate Japan’s future through dialogue with individuals at the forefront of a variety of fields.
● Monograph Series: Applying multifaceted research and analysis to the problems facing Japan, NIRA’s Monograph Series presents analytical data and information that will be of use in future discussions.
● Policy Proposal Highlights: Drawn from previously published Opinion Papers, Research Reports and other publication, these publications present the essence of NIRA’s policy proposals, and offer points of reference for today’s discussions of policy issues.

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