Technologieführer Japan? Die Umstrukturierung der japanischen Forschungslandschaft

The article addresses the recent structural change in the Japanese science and technology system. Based on the observation that the period of Japan´s technological catch-up with the Western industrialized countries has come to an end, it is assumed that the technological system of the country now has to undergo a fundamental reform towards more independent knowledge creation and innovation in order to maintain and advance the long-term competitiveness of its industrial sector. An institutional analysis of the Japanese innovation system leads to the following results: First, the R&D investment of the private sector is on a very high level. The reorientation of private R&D towards the strengthening of basic research and the formation of specialized human capital, however, is at an intermediate stage, only. Second, the public investment in R&D, traditionally small in Japan, has been significantly increased in recent years. Nevertheless, the relative level of public spending in R&D is still much lower than in the U.S. and in Western Europe. Third, Japan´s education and university system is providing the economy with a generally well-educated population but does not place high priority on the formation of creativity and on the education of highly specialized scientists and technicians. Recently, however, a number of reforms in the university system is indicating a strategic policy change. Fourth, while the structure of the labor and capital markets has traditionally supported a low degree of skill specialization and a concentration of resources in large companies, a gradual change towards higher incentives for specialized skills and for innovative small and medium enterprises is now becoming apparent. The article concludes that while there is a strategic reorientation in almost all parts of the Japanese innovation system, this must be considered as merely the beginning of a long-term restructuring process.


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