Director's Message

Greetings from the Director List

Hideki Wakabayashi

Board Member, Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation (JANIC) Director, THINK Lobby

Director, Global Compact Network Japan Advisor, Asia Development Alliance (ADA)

Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation (JANIC), Director of the United Nations Global Compact Network Japan (Executive Committee Member), and a member of the Board of Directors of the United Nations Global Compact Network Japan. Network Japan (Executive Committee Member), Chair of the Asia Development Alliance (ADA), and a member of the Life Redesign College of Waseda University. Alliance (ADA), Lecturer at Life Redesign College (LRC), Waseda University (LRC), Lecturer at Waseda University, Adjunct Lecturer at Kokugakuin University, Faculty of Law.

Today, Japan is facing an economic slowdown and contraction, unlike the steady growth that it once experienced. In the years after World War II, the Japanese society adopted its Peace Constitution, and by referencing the Western models of social and economic systems, achieved growth to become one of the world’s leading economic and technological powers by around 1990. However, the economic growth rate slowed down in the years that followed, and the aging of the population, expansion of economic disparity, fiscal deficits, decline of local economies, and various other issues have become more serious.

In the area of politics and diplomacy, Japan continues to follow a security policy framework based on the Japan-U.S. Alliance that depends on U.S. defense capabilities, and it has not been able to conduct its own style of diplomacy to lead the international community. Furthermore, along with the tendency to “glorify” Japan, there are signs of distorted nationalism.

Looking at the international community, many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030 are becoming increasingly difficult to attain, partly due to the impact of the pandemic. In countries around the world such as Syria, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Ukraine, democracy is being denied, violence is rampant, human rights are being violated, and the environment in which citizens can freely engage in activities is deteriorating.

In light of such serious circumstances, perhaps you have thought that as an individual citizen it is hard to just stand by and watch. Can we leave things the way they are? Is there something more that we can do? In order to shape these thoughts and fulfill our responsibilities for the future, we need to break the status quo, create new trends, and maximize the potential of civil society. One answer to achieving this is the establishment of THINK Lobby, a think tank for citizens that connects the thoughts of individuals who have adopted a passive stance in the past toward social and economic policies, so that we can come together to think and act together.

In line with the principles of JANIC “to contribute to creating a peaceful, just, and sustainable world,” we will focus on development, environment, and other fields to support civic activities through research and surveys, policy advocacy and other efforts. These efforts will emphasize the independence and citizenship of the think tank, and respect international human rights standards and other internationally agreed norms, as well as SDGs and other frameworks. We will collaborate with not only the civil society sectors in Japan and abroad, but also various other sectors, including governments, corporations, labor unions, universities, and foundations. Moreover, in order to fulfill an important role for future generations, we will continually place emphasis on fostering world-class human resources.

Let us join hands to learn, think, and act together.