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Message from the President

Center for International Public Policy Studies (CIPPS) is a private-sector think tank established in March 2007. We are making researches with the following four perspectives.

First, CIPPS considers trends in world supremacy in its research on international public policy. We can say that the twentieth century was dominated by the United States, but the twenty-first century seems to be a very different era. Russia, which was the leader of the Eastern bloc during the U.S.-Soviet Cold War, can be said to again be seeking supremacy, as witnessed by the recent conflict in Georgia. Moreover, India, China, and other countries that used to be considered developing nations have come to play major roles on the world stage. On the other hand, there is a risk that Japan's international influence will decline as its population decreases and its prospects for economic growth are dim.

CIPPS's first perspective in its research is to examine how Japan can participate in the international community via such avenues as producing new information that will lead the world and developing innovative technology, including that for use in global warming countermeasures.

Second, CIPPS views international issues from a global perspective. The skyrocketing of crude oil and grain prices is an issue that traditionally has been handled by international organizations like the United Nations, the IMF, and the WTO, but that era has ended. People are questioning how best to redesign international institutions so they function optimally. We must think about the questions of who should handle global-scale issues in the international community and how those issues should be handled.

Third, the assumptions that have been used in economic propositions to date are starting to change rapidly. Transaction costs have become very high reflecting the skyrocketing of crude oil prices, and it is clear that several economic propositions are going to be transformed. In the case of the EU, the NAFTA, and other regional groupings encompassing several countries, we are starting to notice that, due to the heightening of transaction costs, advantages do not increase the more the grouping is expanded. Supply chain management (SCM) has created a supply system based on production in regions where personnel costs are low, there is a high concentration of industry, and costs can be contained, but we see that the assumptions underlying SCM may be overturned as well. Creating new propositions and reprioritizing options is an important topic for CIPPS.

Fourth, it is important to keep in mind the perspective of history in looking at international issues that are large in scope. For example, the following proposition has arisen: It is said that Africa, which originally belonged to the same continent as Brazil, likely has soil similar to that of Brazil. Brazil is finding success in bioethanol production, and this implies that growing sugarcane in African savannas may stimulate not just biofuel production but also food production in that continent. By thinking about issues faced by Africa with the actions by Brazil together, new solutions are born. New ideas are being created that we had not even imagined before.

Another example of the importance of taking history into account is the situation in the Middle East. Iraq, which has long been plagued by conflict, and Syria, which is rumored to have terrorist connections, were both part of the Ottoman Empire before World War I. During the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Western powers partitioned the territory, creating nations with human-imposed borders. With this, Syria, Iraq, and today's Persian Gulf countries were born. As we review the long history of the Middle East, we can see that the national delineations in place at the beginning of the twentieth century had a basis of their own and were sustainable.

Moreover, it is interesting to note that Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, separated the state and Islam. A contrasting example is offered by Iran: With the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi who had sought to separate the state and Islam was expelled from the country, and an Islamic republic, which continues to this day, was created. The visions that these two countries have for themselves can be considered polar opposites. From this perspective, in thinking about the creation of a future order for the Middle East, the influence of Iran and Turkey must be kept in mind.

As these examples suggest, new clues will be revealed as we take history into consideration when looking at current international issues.

With the support of our many member corporations who are involved in the business world, CIPPS will conduct research from the above standpoints and release statements to the domestic and international communities with the aim of creating a sustainable Japan.

Center for International Public Policy Studies
President   Naoki Tanaka