Research Programs: Policy History and Policy Assessment

Promoting Evidence-based Policy in Japan

Project Leader/Sub-Leader


YAMAGUCHI Kazuo (Visiting Fellow)



Japan has systems to promote the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle of policies, e.g., the Policy Evaluation (Seisaku Hyoka) and the Public Projects Review (Gyosei Jigyo Review). Yet, most methodologies used in Japan rely disproportionately on qualitative methodologies. Even the limited cases in which quantitative methodologies are used involve issues since the adopted methodologies barely contain control groups with which the government can compare treatment groups. Moreover, systems to reflect evidence on policies and budgets are not effective.

On the other hand, other countries, in particular, the United Kingdom and the United States, made progress in utilizing evidence in making policies and budgets, which resulted in improved cost effectiveness in various policy areas.

As Japan faces pressing challenges such as a rapidly aging society, shrinking population, and the accumulated government deficit far beyond 200% of its gross domestic product (GDP), this research project works on evidence-based policies from the following perspectives: 1) analysis of other countries' evidence-based policies; 2) analysis of the reasons behind the lack of progress in making evidence-based policies in Japan; 3) sharing new experiences utilizing rigorous evaluations such as randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in Japan; 4) designing new experiments in Japan that are similar to the past experiments that showed positive results in other countries; and 5) consideration on designing a system to promote utilization of evidence-based policies in Japan.

February 6, 2017 - January 31, 2019

Major Research Results


RIETI Discussion Papers

RIETI Policy Discussion Papers