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The Democratic Party of Japan, which had been an opposition party, won the 2009 Lower House election by a wide margin, and a Democratic administration began with a Cabinet that did not include any Liberal Democrats. This was the first case where a transition of political power occurred through a national election in Japan. Now that more than a year has passed since the transition of power, the catchphrase “politician-led government” has lost its significance, and one can say that the environment surrounding public policy is in a critical transitional period.
Against this backdrop of changes in the policy environment, private sector think tanks that mainly deal with public policy or business management consulting are increasingly facing situations where they need to provide advice that is one step ahead of their clients’ assessment of current conditions. In other words, the need for such proactive, in-depth advice has increased to an extent that has not been previously seen.
Based on these observations, it is considered increasingly important to have a long-term perspective, to identify fundamental trends leading a new era of public policy, and to create new values.
In this context, Iwao Nakatani (Ph. D. Chairman, The board of counselors), Yoshiaki Okamoto (Principal Consultant, Policy Research & Consulting Division), Hisashi Yoshida (Principal, Corporate Strategy Consulting Division), and Yoshiyuki Ohshita (Chief Editor of the Journal) discussed the role of private sector think tanks in Japan.