Established on November 1, 2007, the Russian Research Center (RRC) is an affiliate of the Institute of Economic Research at Hitotsubashi University. Its start came after the university became a National University Corporation and was triggered by a research commission from Toyota Motor Corporation that was accepted by the university as part of its active efforts to promote collaboration between academia and industry. The Institute has been a central location in Japan for research on the system of the socialist planned economy since the end of World War II and is widely recognized as continually leading Japan's research activities in the field of theoretical and empirical studies on the transition process of the former communist economic systems which started with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Therefore, the main focus of its studies is on the present Russian Federation which used to be the core of the Soviet Union. Taking advantage of accumulated knowledge and a dense network of researchers and academic research organizations from all over the world, RRC aims mainly to contribute to further development of research on the Russian economy at the Institute and build greater collaborative relationships between the Institute and industry by providing academic support to Japanese companies that have already established a foothold in Russia, or have such a plan.
2. The Institute and RRC
The current administration of RRC is organized as follows: the Director of the Institute acts also as the Director of RRC; four research staff members are a professor (manager of RRC) and an associate professor specialized in the U.S., European, and Russian economies, a professor specialized in economic systems, and a professor in sociology; seven research collaborators are outside researchers and academics; and two researchers work as RRC Researchers. The research topic for 2007-2008 concerns Russia's policy for its automobile industry, for which we conducted research on medium-term economic policies and government economic forecasts, interviews with people from, as well as experts on, the Russian government, and an extensive study of relevant documents. We started to expand the scope of our research in 2009 and plan to investigate (1) the framework for implementing industrial policies used by the federal government, including the legal system, (2) relationships between policy and business circles under the dual leadership of Medvedev and Putin, (3) the industrial structure of the market of automobile-related products, (4) government policy on the population and labor force, (5) issues surrounding the globalization of the Russian economy, including its attempt to become a WTO member, and (6) the relationship between labor unions and foreign companies.