Light and Shadow of Independent Administrative Institutions
For two years after the launch of RIETI in 2001, its leadership, researchers, and staff were united in the enthusiasm to create “Kasumigaseki Team II” (Fig. 27.1). I think it was Executive Vice President Nobuo Tanaka who coined that term, intending it to mean that RIETI would engage in long-term policy research which could not be done in the Ministry. He and I were involved in a workshop when he was the Deputy-Director of Science, Technology, and Industry at Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). And, as he had observed the workings of the Brookings Institution and other American think tanks when he was posted as Minister for Energy, Trade and Industry at the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C., he was a close colleague of mine. We did not subscribe to the notion of “the lost decade,” the depressive view popular at the time, as we aggressively pursued the potential for institutional change. During the three years I was at my post, we put out commercially based publications from Tōyō Keizai Shinpōsha: over ten volumes each on a full-fledged “Economic Policy Analysis Series” (Fiscal Reforms of Japan: Redesigning the Frame of the State, Aoki, Masahiko and Kōtarō Tsuru, authors and editors) and policy-oriented “Economic Policy Review Series” (Modularity: A New Industrial Architecture, Aoki, Masahiko and Haruhiko Andō, authors and editors). These reached a standard we could be proud of. This work led many to start on the path of becoming first-rate researchers.