The 1960s represented the dawn of “scientific planning” in Japan. This was an age when plans were afoot for doubling the average income when the National Comprehensive Plan was announced. The Japanese economy entered upon a period of high-level growth and government agencies began to fret over how to process vast quantities of information to accurately comprehend conditions and how public investment—the factor which plays the principal role in the formation of social capital—should most appropriately be allocated. In conjunction with the rapid development of computers, such demands one by one attained the realm of practical realization.

Amidst such conditions, The Institute of Behavioral Sciences (IBS) was founded in July 1964 as an incorporated foundation with the authorization of the Prime Minister's Office.

IBS was founded in order to “conduct quantitative research into political, economic, and social phenomena in Japan and other countries, and to contribute to the dissemination of knowledge relating to rational policy decisions and scientific planning by Japanese government agencies and private companies.“ IBS is a nonprofit organization whose activities are conducted with the profits accruing from investment of funds, donations, commissioned research expenses, etc.

In 1968, on the occasion of the first urban person trip survey conducted in Tokyo, the intention of which was to formulate a comprehensive urban transport system plan for the metropolitan region, IBS came to assume as its main fields of activity research, surveys, and related methodology connected with urban planning and urban transport planning throughout Japan. Such research was intended to promote a comprehensive basis including fields of urban planning, the environment, the economy, social systems, and information processing.
1981 saw the opening of the Tohoku Office in Sendai, whose purpose was to tackle problems of regional planning, urban planning, and social system planning intimately connected with regional society.

Following the initial person trip survey conducted in the Tokyo metropolitan area in 1968, IBS carried out the second and third such surveys in 1978 and 1988 respectively. These surveys, together with research work involving the planning of urban transport systems, have remained the core of IBS’s work. In addition, IBS is involved in a wide range of research fields including town planning, regional development, economics, social systems, the environment and natural language processing. These research activities are either commissioned or autonomously, having their results going toward the formulation of policy proposals.

In March 1989, on the basis of our research to date and future prospects, IBS began to work directly with the Management and Coordination Agency and the Ministry of Construction as a foundation involved in surveys and research, exchange of information, and international exchange in connection with behavioral planning, urban transport planning, and other types of planning related to these fields.

A research grant system (IBS Fellowship) was begun in 1994 to mark the thirtieth anniversary of IBS's foundation.

Adhering to our role as a nonprofit research foundation active within society at large, IBS will continue in the future to maintain a research structure open to various fields. We will also continue to pursue substantial and practically useful research work in both applied and basic domains.