RIETI Report April 12, 2024

Greetings from the RIETI New Leadership

Dear Readers,
Welcome to RIETI Report.
This bi-weekly newsletter will keep you updated with the recent columns, event information and research results by RIETI fellows and other leading economists in Japan and around the world.

In this edition, we are introducing our new leadership. We entered the sixth mid-term objective and mid-term plan period this April. With that, we welcomed new Chairman Kyoji Fukao and new President Eiichi Tomiura to RIETI, who have been closely working at RIETI as program directors for many years.

We hope you will enjoy it. If you have any feedback, we would love to hear from you (news-info@rieti.go.jp).
Editors of RIETI Report (Facebook: @en.RIETI / X: @RIETIenglish / URL: https://www.rieti.go.jp/en/)

This month's featured article

Greetings from the RIETI Chairman

FUKAO KyojiChairman, RIETI

My name is Kyoji Fukao, and I have succeeded former Chairman Urata as chairman of the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).

RIETI, Japan's first policy think tank established as an independent administrative agency in 2001 for the purpose of conducting effective and efficient research on economic and industrial policy, entered a new mid-term objective and mid-term plan period in April. What is required of us in the next five years is the ambitious goal of further advancing our world-class research, which has been recognized as top class in Asia, while undertaking our most important mission, which is making policy contributions.

In a 1997 publication by RIETI's predecessor, the Research Institute of International Trade and Industry (MITI/RI), former Director Ryutaro Komiya and new Director Masahiko Aoki respectively wrote that "MITI/RI's central mission is to academically analyze policy issues facing the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI)" and "as institutional reform has become a problem for Japan as a whole, MITI/RI is called upon to go back to the roots of this dynamism and academically clarify the issues of trade and industry policy."

The world is currently undergoing an epochal transition due to the confrontation between China, Russia, and the West, the rise of the Global South, and the emergence and spread of new technologies such as AI, big data, and robotics. The Japanese economy is in a state of crisis in that it has been largely left behind by the technological frontier countries due to 30 years of stagnation, but as in the past, when the Meiji restoration opened up the country, and at the end of World War II, the existence of a large gap with the technological frontier countries is itself an opportunity for Japan, which is exiting from a long deflationary period.

In order to survive the turbulent world and to exit from economic stagnation, it is important for industry, government, and academia to work together, as they have done during the past two economic crises. In this new, unprecedented era, it is necessary for academia, which tends to look at issues from a medium- to long-term perspective, to help provide direction for policy changes. In this sense, RIETI is becoming increasingly important.

RIETI will actively strengthen its policy advisory functions through the EBPM Center, conduct analyses that open up "new opportunities for economic and industrial policy," and propose institutional reforms from a medium- to long-term perspective, with the ultimate goal of becoming the first policy and research institution that policy makers and industry turn to for both advice and to access research results.

Fukao's profile:

Fukao's activities at RIETI in the past:

Greetings from the President of RIETI

TOMIURA EiichiPresident and Chief Research Officer, RIETI

RIETI has conducted and accumulated research on economic and industrial policy since its establishment in 2001. This April, we entered a new mid-term objective and mid-term plan period, with the goal of continuing to promote high-level research while strengthening our contribution to policy. I am aware of the gravity inherent in the responsibility of being appointed president at a time such as this, and I intend to fulfill my duties.

During the long period of stagnation since the bursting of the bubble economy, Japan has been left behind by the economic development of other countries. Not only is the situation expected to become more serious as the population declines and ages, but new technologies are beginning to have a broad impact on the world, and the era of the accelerating globalization since the end of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union is coming to an end. We are at a historical turning point. Therefore, it is necessary to find a path to achieve long-term development by adopting new and innovative policy measures based on deep consideration of the situation.

In this context, RIETI needs to reaffirm its mission of taking economic and industrial policy in a better direction for our country through research and the promotion of research activities. For this reason, we hope to enhance our advisory function so that our policies can withstand academic criticism. In particular, we will provide input into policy formation from a medium- to long-term perspective through research centered on data-based empirical analysis. At the same time, as an independent administrative agency, we will continue to evaluate policies and propose reforms to ensure that the implemented policies are effective for our country. We will also strive to maintain the highest quality of research, since involvement in policy is only possible when backed up with academic findings. We also hope that closer exchanges of views with policy makers will stimulate our academic research. It is more important than ever before to collaborate with various parties in order to tackle this series of difficult issues and therefore, I thank you in advance for your guidance and advice.

Eiichi Tomiura's profile:

Tomiura's activities at RIETI in the past:

Our latest discussion papers

"Trends in National and Local Market Concentration in Japan: 1980-2020"
KIKUCHI Shinnosuke (MIT)

"Personality Traits as Moderators of the Effects of Working Hours on Mental Health"
SATO Kaori (Meiji University) / KURODA Sachiko (Faculty Fellow, RIETI) / OWAN Hideo (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)

"Robots on Sale: The effect of tax policy on robot adoption and employment"
ADACHI Daisuke (Fellow (Specially Appointed), RIETI) / KAWAGUCHI Daiji (Faculty Fellow, RIETI) / SAITO Yukiko (Senior Fellow (Specially Appointed), RIETI)

"Automation and Offshoring on Wage Inequality in Japan"
KIKUCHI Shinnosuke (MIT)

"Revisiting Disability Employment and Firm Productivity in Japan"
MATSUMOTO Kodai (Fellow (Policy Economist), RIETI) / OKUMURA Yota (LITALICO Partners, Inc) / NAKAMURA Kenta (Kobe University) / MORIMOTO Atsushi (North Asia University / Kobe University) / YUGAMI Kazufumi (Kobe University)

"The Management of Knowledge Work"
Wouter DESSEIN (Columbia University) / Desmond (Ho-Fu) LO (Santa Clara University) / SHANGGUAN Ruo (Jinan University) / OWAN Hideo (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)

[List of discussion papers]
[List of upcoming and past symposiums]
[List of upcoming and past BBL seminars]

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