Japanese Technology Policy:
History and a New Perspective

執筆者 HARAYAMA Yuko (Faculty Fellow)
発行日/NO. 2001年9月  01-E-001


The last decade of the 20th century was marked by the emergence of a "knowledge-based economy," with governments in most OECD countries intensifying their commitment to the underlying research and development activities.

Japan is no exception. The Japanese government affirmed setting the objectives of a "Nation Based on Science and Technology" as the fundamental policy goal in 1980 and since then it has implemented several laws and policy packages in the fields of science, technology, industry and higher education, with the common denominator being "Industry-University-State cooperation." This policy orientation has been consolidated by the Science and Technology Basic Law, introduced in 1995, which gave the government legal competence in science and technology.

This trend tends to reinforce stereotypic images of the Japanese innovation system, such as the "government picking up technological paths" or "industry and government working hand-in-hand." Does this perception reflect reality? This study attempts to clarify this by examining:

* How the technology policy evolved during the postwar period in Japan;

* What its impact was on the private sector's decision on R&D activities;

* What the underlying philosophy was of the government's R&D policies, if one existed;

* What the new perspective is.