Message from the Director
October 2018 marks the tenth anniversary of the founding of the JICA Research Institute (JICA-RI). We plan to continue our efforts to maintain and expand the intellectual impetus and results that JICA-RI has steadily built up over the past decade. As we head into our next ten years, there are three points I would like to emphasize concerning our future steps.
First, as the research arm of JICA, an organization that is responsible for Japan's bilateral development cooperation, we seek to promote research that contributes to the enhancement of JICA's strategies and improves the impact of its activities. JICA has knowledge, information and data, as well as human networks accumulated through its cooperation with developing countries over the last 60 years. By fully utilizing these valuable assets and, basing its activities on a balanced portfolio, JICA-RI will conduct research projects that are intended to contribute to the nation-building aspirations of developing countries—in collaboration with researchers in a variety of fields in Japan and overseas, as well as with other departments in JICA.
Second, as an open hub for development and aid research in Japan, we aim to strengthen our networking with diverse stakeholders and contribute to building an intellectual community in this area. In addition to continuing our efforts toward the publication of working papers and books, the hosting of seminars and symposia in Japan and overseas, and otherwise communicating research findings at academic conferences, we will actively engage in intellectual partnerships with industry, government, academia and civil society and deepen the content of our research. Further, we recently began publishing policy notes that serve as a compilation of policy recommendations based on our research findings. We plan to widely disseminate such information so that it can be utilized by a broad range of interested parties.
Third, we will strengthen our commitment to intellectual communication and global engagement, utilizing content and methodologies that reflect Japanese perspectives. Japan was the first non-western nation to have the "dual" experience of both receiving and providing aid and has taken full ownership of the process of its nation-building by learning about and internalizing foreign knowledge through translative adaptation. This experience has been projected strongly onto Japan's own development cooperation efforts. I believe that there is great significance in making an intellectual contribution to the international community from a uniquely Japanese perspective. Moreover, along with Japan's own development experience, it is important that we organize the results of JICA's long-time partnership for "Knowledge Co-creation" with developing countries in a form that can be effectively utilized in other countries as well. We would like to move forward and take concrete actions, keeping in mind the synergistic effect of our work with the JICA Development Studies Program (JICA-DSP).
While the international community is calling for concerted action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it also faces a rise in nationalism. “Soft power” is needed more than ever today. JICA-RI hopes to play a role in connecting the world with trust through intellectual collaboration with researchers and practitioners in Japan and overseas and strengthening Japan's "soft power." The G20 Summit and the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7), to be held in Japan in 2019, are excellent opportunities for us to do so. We humbly ask for your warm support and cooperation as we move forward.
Izumi Ohno, Director
JICA Research Institute
October 1, 2018