Mitsubishi Research Institute Publishes 2021 Edition of Listings of Societal Issues

The Listings, which hope to paint a broad and effective picture of global societal problems, and their solutions, can now be accessed worldwide in English

Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc.

Tokyo, June 6, 2022 - The Initiative for Co-Creating the Future (ICF), operated by the Mitsubishi Research Institute (MRI), publishes the 2021 edition of its Resolving Societal Issues through Innovation - Listings of Societal Issues. The Listings highlights societal issues that innovation has prime potential to resolve. By creating the Listings, ICF aims to consistently recognize and capture ever-changing and evolving issues.

In this fifth edition, new perspectives have been added, including a new focus on Diversity and Inclusion, the identification and organization of negative factors brought about by DX, and signs of change expected in the world amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Listings are one of part of ICF’s primary activities, identifying and explaining in detail the societal issues that ICF expects in particular to be resolved through innovation in the following six areas: Wellness, Water and Food, Energy and Environment, Mobility, Disaster Prevention and Infrastructure, and Education and Human Resource Development.

ICF is the result of integration between two MRI entities: the Platinum Society Study Group and the Innovation Network for Co-creating the Future (INCF). The integration utilizes the best of both networks and membership bases that MRI has cultivated. The ICF started fresh in April 2021 and is both proud and excited to release this year’s Listings of Societal Issues.

1. Background

In the time following the publication of the first edition of the Listings of Societal Issues in 2017 by INCF, the Listings of Societal Issues has been revised every year in order to consistently recognize and capture ever-changing and evolving societal issues. Since the integration of INCF into ICF, ICF has taken over responsibility for this accumulation, and, after renewing and expanding the contents, now publishes the 2021 edition (5th edition) of the Listings of Societal Issues.

The Listings of Societal Issues is reviewed annually to determine issues that need to be addressed, reorganized, and updated. ICF then prioritizes certain issues based on an evaluation of the potential impact that solutions to such issues will create. This period of review and reorganization marks the starting point for ICF activities and research that aim to resolve societal issues through open innovation in business.

2. Summary

The 2021 edition of the Listings of Societal Issues has been fully updated to include information on issues that have been occurring and evolving continuously and to incorporate new changes in the social environment into the data.

For example, ICF has incorporated the concept of diversity and inclusion as a new focus for societal issue solutions, attempting to address the lack of diversity in human resources in addition to the increasing prevalence of women’s health issues, both of which have become growing concerns as women and other historically marginalized groups become more active in the workplace. In addition, the negative aspects of DX are becoming more visible as society begins to recognize the worsening risk of cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure and increasing rates of problems caused by the biased filtering of social media information consumed by individuals.

The 2021 edition of the Listings of Societal Issues divides its research and recommendations for resolving societal issues into two distinct approaches. The first approach is to find and identify unambiguous problems, or “pain points”, and reduce the negative effects of these problems to zero, thus returning to a neutral point from an undesirable position. The second approach also aims to return to a neutral point, but then attempts to further move the position to a more tenable, positive environment.

For example, in the area of Water and Food, the report explains how the promotion of communication through food can improve wellbeing. In the area of Mobility, the report explains how digitalization and the overall shift towards online services, the progress of which was dramatically accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, can change the way people work and behave, potentially creating new, untapped markets.

Societal Issues Newly Addressed in the 2021 Edition


  • Increasing health risks for women
  • Worsening harm caused by loneliness and isolation

Water and Food

  • Unhealthy food that remains in prosperous societies
  • The shift toward greater respect for food diversity
  • Lack of communication through food

Energy and Environment

  • Loss of biodiversity


  • Rapid changes in means of transportation and opportunities utilizing digital technologies

Disaster Prevention and Infrastructure

  • Larger number and harsher types of cyberattack

Education and Human Resource Development

  • Lack of diversity in human resources
ICF hopes that the Listings of Societal Issues will be used not just as a collection of information that can be utilized to find clues and ideas for resolving societal issues in each area of business and society, but also as reference material for those who are interested in resolving societal issues at the individual and business level.


Issue Date: May 2022
Publisher: Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc.
ISBN: 978-4-943853-22-0

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Societal Issues by Sector
    1. Wellness
    2. Water and Food
    3. Energy and Environment
    4. Mobility
    5. Disaster Prevention and Infrastructure
    6. Education and Human Resource Development
  • Appendix
    List of Societal Issues, SDGs Index, Technology Index

Cover Artwork

The artwork on the cover of this year’s edition was created by Katsumi Sasayama, a contracted artist for ICF member Heralbony, Inc..

Heralbony Inc. is developing diverse businesses with the intention of expanding the welfare sector. Their main businesses include a licensing business centered on copyright management of more than 2,000 pieces of high-resolution art data contracted with artists that have intellectual disabilities throughout Japan, and the operation of the art lifestyle brand "HERALBONY", which incorporates said artworks into fashion, interior design, and other products.
Listings of Societal Issues 2021 cover

3. Accessing the Listings of Societal Issues

A copy of the Listings of Societal Issues can be obtained at the the page below by filling in the required information. After entering the required information, a download link will be sent to you automatically.

ICF invites researchers, entrepreneurs, and all interested parties to provide feedback and contributions to further improve this publication, which can serve as a reference for finding solutions to societal issues.

4. Future Plans

ICF plans to provide members with videos that explain the content of the Listings of Societal Issues in a compact manner and hold workshops to discuss specific social issues to promote solutions to social problems.

If you are interested in future ICF activities, please contact the secretariat below.

About the Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc. (MRI)

The Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc. (MRI) is one of Japan’s foremost think tanks. MRI, commemorating the 50th year since its founding in 1970, has half a century of experience in providing public and private sector clients with research and consulting services over a wide range of fields, such as energy, environment, health care and ICT. MRI has supported Japan’s rapid growth and establishment of the country’s advanced policy and infrastructure. The Company’s researchers can provide clients both within Japan and abroad tailor-made insights based on their expertise and a broad network across Japan’s leading fields. MRI will continually envision a desirable future, resolve societal issues, and lead change in society to co-create a sustainable and abundant future.
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Contact Us

Inquiry About the Contents of the Listings of Societal Issues

Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc.
10-3, Nagatacho 2-chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8141, Japan
Secretariat of the Initiative for Co-creating the Future, Future Co-Creation Division
Ayato Susaki, Toshihiko Kataoka, Eri Tamagawa
Tel: +81-3-6858-3557

Press Inquiry

Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc.
10-3, Nagatacho 2-chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8141, Japan
Corporate Communications Division
Tel: +81-3-6705-6000