on the one hand, and through industry-university cooperation, the activation of entrepreneurs, and human resource development in management of technology areas on the other.

The Nakagawa Report, concerned above all with the activities of METI, seeks to identify policies needed to establish and accelerate a virtuous cycle of demand and innovation in order to bring about Japan’s economic recovery and to create its future industrial structure. Taking a “very traditional” approach to drafting this report METI staff conducted rigorous interviews with over 700 people from more than 300 companies and institutions, asking all what they felt to be important.

METI Looks at Japan’s Future

The report provides three key questions and as many key solutions. The questions center on how to ensure global competitiveness, how to respond to the demands of society, and how to encourage regional economic development. The potential solutions are to identify cutting-edge areas of industry that promise strong global competitiveness industrial areas that can meet market needs arising from changes to society, and industry clusters that can support regional revival.

Also contained in the report is a “very comprehensive” list of policy priorities. The first identifies promising industrial areas, among which, as mentioned earlier by Dr. Kahaner, are fuel cells and digital consumer electronics. Second are policies for regional revitalization. A third category includes so-called cross-sectional policies, pertaining to such issues as the development of industrial human resources, intellectual property rights, research and development, standardization, development of new businesses by small and mid-sized enterprises.

Turning to the implementation of these potential solutions and policies, Mr. Shindo said that “fortunately” several policy responses to the report have been initiated in the year since its publication. Notably, a “Technology Strategy Map” that has been developed by his organization together with METI and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan’s largest public research organization.

Ending his presentation, he thanked those attending for their attention and offered to provide more details to all who might be interested.


Dr. Wessner opened the question period by referring to the “tipping point” mentioned by Mr. Howell and asking whose semiconductor industry was most vulnerable to it—that of the United States, Europe, Taiwan, or Japan? While he was posing the question primarily to Mr. Howell, Dr. Wessner said, he would value the response of others on the panel as well.

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