After WWII, in addition to the former colonies to become politically independent, the rise of socialist states, or the industrial nations to recover economically, economic development became the priority in every nation-state across the globe. Each nation-state has tried to enhance economic growth of its own and move its industrial structure forward through monetary, financial, industrial, and trade policies on the one hand, and develop and strengthen mechanisms for the international economic cooperation that foster solid economic development in each nation, on the other.
As a result, trade, private investment, and ODA have increased dramatically. Nations get more economically interdependent. Many countries, regardless of developed, socialist, or developing countries, have experienced economic growth.
However, during this same period, we have also seen unbalanced growth due to tensions between East and West, which was between superpowers (US and Soviet), disputes in various areas in the world, or political instabilities within developing countries. Gaps between developed and developing countries, or what we call North-South problem, have especially been widening. Even gaps within developing countries, or South-South problem became an issue in an international economic arena.
Under such economy-driven development, social inequalities have enlarged in many societies. Especially during 80s, with the Structural Adjustment Programs, many developing countries experienced problems like unemployment, inequalities, weakened social capital, sever influences on education and health services, and rapid increase of refugees. These problems produce North-South problem even within a country.
Furthermore, poverty and unplanned development have accelerated environmental disruption and pollution at the global scale. Issues in international development cover, therefore, not only economic aspects, but include various social problems.
Under these international political and economic circumstances, it is recognized that Japan, as an economic power, has to play more and more leading roles. International society expects Japan to show her leadership in sustainable economic growth without inflation; maintaining an international open economy; reducing unbalance in international mobility; promoting technical transfer and technology development; strengthening ODA schemes; environmental protection at the global scale; preserving indigenous cultures; and solving refugee problems. However, Japan does not respond well to these expectations, because she is usually “small and slow.” She is so in bi-lateral negotiations on commerce, investment, development assistance. It is especially true when it comes to international economic, social, and political rule-setting and strengthening international development mechanisms. We have to respond to the expectations from the international society toward Japan’s leadership. Now we have a great opportunity to do so. It is also necessary to expand development education to Japanese citizen in order to deepen their understanding about issues in development and gain further support to the development cooperation, given that Japan became the first or second largest donor.
Therefore, we propose establishing a policy research institution that tries to bring together knowledge and experience about development from multiple disciplines, ranging from economics and management to politics, sociology, anthropology, agriculture, technology, medicine, and so forth. We also aim to contribute to the development of human resources for further enrichment of research and practice in the field of international development.