Before establishment

Japan Techno-Economics Society sent an investigation group for industrial foresight (led by Mr. Koji Kobayashi) to the U.S. in October 1969. Based on their findings on American think tanks, they proposed establishment of think tanks in Japan. In response, the Society announced a plan in January 1970 to turn Future Research Operational Group (FROG), a study group in it, into an independent research institute.

 Establishment and after

A preparatory committee for establishment, represented by Mr. Daigoro Yasukawa, started in January 1971. The establishment of the Institute as a judicial foundation was approved by the prime minister on February 15, 1971. The first major work by the newly formed IFENG was a six-year project of characterization of the “soft science” of which the promotion was recommended by the Fifth Basic Report on Science and Technology (1971), and systematization of related methodologies. The findings accumulated and human networks formed during this period have formed the basis of the institute.


Soft science (science on administrative decision making) was proposed more than forty years ago as a principle addressing interdisciplinary, complex administrative issues and social problems embracing interactions among humans, society, nature and technology. IFENG was formed in that period, in which Japan faced new problems of global importance, such as pollution and limits of energy and resources, as one of the first think tanks in the country.

IFENG has acted as a nonprofit organization for studying particularly subjects related to sci-tech and R&D. This is a unique position in Japan and the institute has followed an original course.

Throughout its history, IFENG has developed and accumulated original soft science methodologies, especially those for analysis of future society, identification of core problems inherent to the society, and design of an integrated strategy as well as conception, implementation and evaluation of policies for their solution. Their application to policy and socioeconomic issues has resulted in achievements of practical value.

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