Policy Research Domains (Major Policy Research Domains) II. Promoting Innovation and Strengthening International Competitiveness

The Structural Characteristics of Research and Development by Japanese Companies, and Issues for the Future

Project Leader/Sub-Leader


NAGAOKA Sadao Faculty Fellow



2009 - 2010

By combining the results of the RIETI survey of Japanese inventors conducted for this project with other related statistics such as patent data (JPO and USPTO) and the Basic Survey of Japanese Business Structure and Activities, I intend to conduct an in-depth study of the innovation process in Japan, shedding light on policy issues for enhancing innovation. Major research agenda include (1) to identify the invention history of the inventors who responded to our survey in order to analyze the careers of inventors in Japan and (2) to conduct a new inventor survey in cooperation with leading academics in Europe, using a uniform questionnaire on the inventions made by the inventors in the U.S., Japan, and Europe with a priority between 2003-2005. (3) We planned to hold the RIETI international workshop "New Firm Creation and Innovation" in order to examine the performance of startups, which is one of the major differences between the innovation systems in Japan and the U.S. Due to the Great East Japan Earthquake, however, we had to cancel the workshop as the keynote speakers could not come to Japan. We plan to publish the research result as a working paper next fiscal year. (4) Although we planned to hold the Second Asia Pacific Innovation Conference, where the results of this research project would be presented, in cooperation with Hitotsubashi University and the WIPO, in order to promote the international discussions on innovation research, we had to cancel the conference in Japan due to the earthquake. We plan to hold the conference in Singapore in smaller scale in FY 2011.


An in-depth study on the processes of innovation will be conducted by combining the results of surveys done in this and the previous fiscal year with related statistical data. The project will also undertake research to shed light on policy issues and will engage in international joint research. Specifically, the following research will be undertaken:

  • (1) One of the focus points of the research will be the patent system.
  • (2) To facilitate analysis of the R&D performance of firms and individuals based on the inventor survey, we will collate the names of patent applicants and inventors covered in the inventor survey and who appear in the patent database.
  • (3) The research combining the inventor survey and the innovation survey of the National Institute of Science and Technology Policy, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology will be conducted.

These researches will develop a comprehensive understanding of the processes of innovation and examine the determinants of performance.

2006 - 2007

Effective research and development (R&D) by Japanese companies is of the greatest importance to the future growth of the Japanese economy. However, social science knowledge with respect to the fundamental factors of research such as the source of knowledge, external collaboration, spillover, financial constraints, barriers for the commercialization of research results, and the motivation of inventors is extremely limited. In our research we conduct a comprehensive survey of Japanese inventors, for the purpose of collecting information on these matters systematically at the level of research projects being implemented within companies. This is the first survey of its kind to be conducted in Japan. By means of statistical analysis of a combination of the information gathered from the survey and existing statistics, we will elucidate the structural characteristics of Japanese companies' R&D, and analyze the determinants of R&D performance and future policy issues. In addition, we will make preparations with a view to conducting international comparative analysis from the next fiscal year onwards, including exchanging views with academics in Europe and the United States with regard to the questionnaires and research methods.

Until March 31, 2011

Major Research Results


RIETI Discussion Papers


RIETI Discussion Papers

RIETI Policy Symposium

  • July 02, 2009
    "Innovation under the Current World Economic Crisis - Capability Enhancement and Institutional Reform"

RIETI International Seminar

RIETI BBL Seminar and International Workshop


RIETI Discussion Papers


RIETI Discussion Papers

RIETI Policy Symposium