Forschung und Entwicklung in Japan - eine quantitative Bestandsaufnahme

Hemmert, Martin GND

In order to verify the contradictory views on the recent technological performance of Japan, the article analyzes several input- as well as output-oriented quantitative indicators in the field of research and development (R&D). The proportion of GNP used for R&D-activities has been steadily rising since the 1970s, resulting in a level of R&D-intensity comparable with other leading industrial countries like the U. S. and Germany. The same statement applies to the proportion of R&D-personnel to the whole population. The investment in basic research, however, is still significantly lower than in large Western industrialized economies. A main reason for this structural feature is the high proportion of R&D performed and financed by the private sector. Concerning the output-oriented indicators, the results of the input-oriented analysis are largely confirmed. The international share of scientific publications and citations by Japanese researchers has been steadily rising for the last 20 years. Moreover, the number of patent applications submitted by Japanese companies is by international standards very high. Regarding the technological balance of trade, Japan still maintains a considerable deficit. This is largely due, however, to technology imports in the postwar decades. A look at the markets for some hightech-products shows that Japanese companies have a strong international stance in some of these fields. As a whole, it is concluded that Japan has caught up technologically with the leading Western economies, although there remain some partial weaknesses.