1.International Systems, Cultures and Societies
Amidst the accelerated trend of globalization, the international community has continued to try and to explore ways to build a new social order. How can we mitigate the international tension over the difference of race, religion, territories and resources? Is it possible to overcome desperate gaps between the developed and the developing nations, while social and economic development is ongoing on a regional scale? These represent only a few of the questions that the global society is facing today. Now, in the early 21st century, a new paradigm has to be established to address a multitude of serious global challenges.
With that in mind, GISPRI has undertaken various research and studies on international systems to explore ways to establish a sustainable social system and the way it should be governed from long-term and wide-ranging perspectives. We addressed the issue of “Chinese Economy after Its Accession to WTO and Japan’s Response” in 2002-2003. In line with the progress of economic partnerships in the region and bilateral FTA talks, we have conducted a series of research and surveys since 2004 including “Supply Chains in East Asia,” “Industry Partnerships in the East-Asian Region,” and “A New Partnership between Japan and India.”
In our attempt to explore the relationship between industrial society and culture, we have chosen such themes as the aging society with a declining birthrate and a new form of ideal relationship between industries and cultures in the age of globalization. For example, how should NPOs, who are now expected to be new players in Japanese society, as well as businesses, who are ever increasing their social influence in parallel with the expansion of their global operations, interact with society? To address the question, we have compiled a report in 2001-2002 entitled “Collaboration System with NPO/NGOs, Government and Business Firms” and “Corporate Social Responsibility” in 2003-2004. Since 2005, we have examined such topics as “The Risk Governance of Industrialized Society and the Culture of Safety” and “Research Committee for Human Resources Development and Job Creation for Younger Generations.”
In addition, we have reexamined the identity of Japanese society in the era of globalization and tried to explore how we could build a sustainable and energetic society. From this perspective, we have carried out research on “Industry Measures to Enhance the Competitiveness of Japanese Tourism Industry” and “Towards Multi-cultural Society.” Currently, we conduct research on the issue of “Socio-Cultural Evolution and Advanced Business Management.”
If humanity continues to destroy the global environment and consume exhaustible natural resources in order to pursue affluence in the developed countries and for economic and population growth in the developing countries, the social system established throughout history will be brought to the brink of collapse. In order to overcome the predicament, sustainable development that balances the protection of the global environment and economic and social development is imperative.
GISPRI has been conducting holistic research on sustainable development by setting up the Research Committee for Sustainability 2050 with a view to exploring harmonious relations between the environment and development that would ensure prosperity and equity to all human beings. In recent years, we have undertaken research focusing on climate change issues including global warming.
With the Kyoto Protocol coming into force on February 16, 2005, various mechanisms and instruments to address negative impact of climate change have shifted to their implementation stage. The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions started in 2008.
Climate change is a grave issue that is long-term in scope. For the ultimate resolution of the problem, it is crucial to establish an all-encompassing international framework to reduce emissions that would involve major developing countries such as China, as well as the United States whose emissions account for the largest part of global carbon dioxide emissions.
As an observer, GISPRI has participated in meetings including the sessions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. We have also provided active support for the preparation of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) completed in November 2007, which will be used as material to be considered at the Post-2012 framework negotiation.
In order to promote Kyoto Mechanisms, we have conducted research and surveys about domestic infrastructure development related to businesses such as legal and accounting issues and issues about the promotion of CDM..
GISPRI will continue with our research and survey work for effective measures to combat global warming such as through our study on the sectoral approach advocated by the Government of Japan as a key component of the post-2012 international regime after the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol expires.