The Research Institute for Peace and Security (RIPS) is Japan’s first nonprofit, independent think tank in the area of peace and security. It was established in October 1978.
RIPS’ mission is to analyze the complex security issues in the Asia Pacific region and beyond and to provide policy recommendations and challenge these problems. Even though RIPS’ research areas pertain primarily to security issues in the Asia Pacific region, they also include broader security topics such as maritime and outer-space security, post-conflict peacekeeping, disarmament, arms control, nuclear nonproliferation, cybersecurity, and the defense industry.
RIPS today has a committee of twenty-seven researchers in a wide range of fields who also hold positions in colleges and universities and help organize research projects and conferences. This provides an important link between RIPS and the academic community.
RIPS’ research is centered on current security issues, and the results of that research are published in Policy Perspectives, in other outside publications, and on the RIPS home page. RIPS also engages in research commissioned by such offices as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense. Major activities are the following:
Annual Report, Ajia no anzenhosho (Asian Security)
Ajia no anzenhosho、an annual review on Asia-Pacific security affairs and Japan’s defense policy, has been published in Japanese language since 1979, a year after RIPS was established. It analyzes major developments in the field of security and regional relations of the Asia-Pacific areas. It covers the wide geographical areas between the Central Asia and North America. The review also contains articles which treat select issues. The review is intended to serve the interest of students, journalists, Self-Defense Force officers, and government officials.
Policy Perspectives, is an occasional periodical which contains policy proposals, conference papers, and summaries of conference reports.
RIPS’ Eye: op-ed web articles
RIPS’ Eye is a bi-monthly online commentary, to which invited writers contribute on a variety of security-related subjects, ranging from UN peacekeeping to Islamic terrorism and arms exports. Young scholars are being encouraged to contribute.
Every year RIPS holds two to three large events, including public
symposia in Tokyo and Osaka, and occasionally in Okinawa. For 2017 the fall symposium in Tokyo will be held on October 10, while the symposium in Osaka on November 28. They will treat “Defense Industries: Present Conditions and Their Challenges” and “North Korean Threats and Japan’s Responses,” respectively.
For the last several years RIPS has organized international conferences and symposia in the Gulf, Southeast Asia, and Europe. In 2011, 2012, and 2013 it sponsored conferences in Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, and Muscat with the main theme of “The Political Role of Japan in the Gulf Region.”
In 2016 RIPS held a public symposium in Manila, together with De La Salle University. Both the conference and the public symposium were about “Maritime Security Cooperation in the East and South China Sea” and attended by experts from Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, the United States, and Vietnam as well as Japan.
In March 2017 RIPS went to Berlin and held a roundtable with the German Institute for International Security Affairs (SWP) and a public symposium with the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation (KAS), in which experts from France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States discussed such subjects as China’s expansive role, North Korea’s growing threats, the Japan-U.S. Alliance, and Japanese-Chinese relations, and so on.
Although it is not a public event, RIPS annually holds the “Japan-South Korea Strategic Cooperation Dialogue” with the Center for Japanese Studies, the Korean National Diplomatic Academy. The meeting sites alternate between the two countries. The Dialogue treats how they should cope with such subjects as North Korea, China, and their bilateral relations.
4. Monthly Seminars
RIPS holds monthly seminars for students, scholars, and government and defense sector officials, with guest speakers on Asia Pacific security issues. The meetings are usually attended by about 30 people.
5. Occasional Seminars
RIPS holds occasional seminars for corporate members, particularly those in defense industry by inviting guest speakers from outside.
6. International Exchanges
RIPS exchanges visits of students, scholars, and practitioners in international security from various countries. RIPS also holds an annual “strategic dialogue” with the Center for Japanese Studies, Korea National Diplomatic Academy, as was mentioned earlier.
This is a major project on which RIPS places emphasis. The program, which started in 1984, was to encourage young scholars and researchers under the age of 35 years old to study international and national security.
As of April 1 RIPS has 22 corporate members, most of which were defense industries. It also had individual members. In FY2016 corporate membership fees were 4,750,000Yen, while individual membership fees were 1,031,000Yen.
President, Board of Directors, Board of Trustees, and Research Committee
RIPS daily activities are executed by the President, the General Secretary, one accountant, two in-house researchers and one intern. Its activities are supported by the
Research Committee and guided by the Board of 14 Directors and counseled by the Board of 14 Trustees. The Board of Directors meet twice a year, while the Board of
Trustees once a year.
The President and 14 Directors are selected by the Board of Directors and approved by the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees appoints and dismisses the
Directors. It also approves the activities and closing accounts.
RIPS Research Committee now has twenty-seven members selected from among scholars, retired diplomats, retired Self-Defense Forces officers, and so forth. They participate in different activities of RIPS, including Asian Security, RIPS’ Eye, and symposia. The committee members, including “graduates” from the RIPS fellowship program, form indispensable resources for RIPS activities.