7
Conclusions and Policy Recommendations1

MAJOR FINDINGS

Science and Technology Interactions Have Had a Considerable Impact on Economic Performance

The acquisition, effective adaptation and improvement of technologies from abroad, mainly from the United States, have served as a basis for Japan's rapid economic growth and international competitiveness in a wide variety of manufacturing industries. For the United States the economic benefits of science and technology interaction with Japan have been much lower in relative and absolute terms. There are indications of growing benefits in recent years, particularly in industries where opportunities to participate in the Japanese market have improved, and industries where Japanese investment in the United States has contributed to maintaining U.S. capabilities.

The U.S.-Japan Science and Technology Relationship Is Changing

In recent years a number of major changes have occurred in the U.S.-Japan science and technology relationship, most of them positive from a U.S. perspective. The strengths of the U.S. innovation and market systems have reasserted themselves, particularly, but not exclusively, in information-related industries. Information about Japanese science and technology is much more widely available, and a growing group of U.S. scientists and engineers are capable in the Japanese language and experienced in the Japanese research and innovation environment. A wide range of U.S. manufacturing companies have developed more effective approaches to innovation, manufacturing, and marketing, in some cases adapting aspects of Japanese practices. At the same time, Japanese government and industry strategies to further strengthen Japan's leading role in global high-technology development and manufacturing have recently met with diminishing returns. Approaches to industrial development based on technology acquisition and improvement have become less effective due to the higher risks and uncertainties faced by Japanese companies as they have reached the technological frontier. Japanese firms also have faced challenges from new technological and industrial competitors in markets where they had established strong positions, such as semiconductor memories.

1  

The purpose of this chapter is to present the conclusions and recommendations in a concise way. Further discussion of the reasoning behind the task force's conclusions and recommendations, including consideration of alternative approaches considered by the task force, is provided in Chapter 6. The Executive Summary presents highlights of the conclusions and recommendations within the context of the entire study.



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Maximizing U.S. Interests in Science and Technology Relations with Japan 7 Conclusions and Policy Recommendations1 MAJOR FINDINGS Science and Technology Interactions Have Had a Considerable Impact on Economic Performance The acquisition, effective adaptation and improvement of technologies from abroad, mainly from the United States, have served as a basis for Japan's rapid economic growth and international competitiveness in a wide variety of manufacturing industries. For the United States the economic benefits of science and technology interaction with Japan have been much lower in relative and absolute terms. There are indications of growing benefits in recent years, particularly in industries where opportunities to participate in the Japanese market have improved, and industries where Japanese investment in the United States has contributed to maintaining U.S. capabilities. The U.S.-Japan Science and Technology Relationship Is Changing In recent years a number of major changes have occurred in the U.S.-Japan science and technology relationship, most of them positive from a U.S. perspective. The strengths of the U.S. innovation and market systems have reasserted themselves, particularly, but not exclusively, in information-related industries. Information about Japanese science and technology is much more widely available, and a growing group of U.S. scientists and engineers are capable in the Japanese language and experienced in the Japanese research and innovation environment. A wide range of U.S. manufacturing companies have developed more effective approaches to innovation, manufacturing, and marketing, in some cases adapting aspects of Japanese practices. At the same time, Japanese government and industry strategies to further strengthen Japan's leading role in global high-technology development and manufacturing have recently met with diminishing returns. Approaches to industrial development based on technology acquisition and improvement have become less effective due to the higher risks and uncertainties faced by Japanese companies as they have reached the technological frontier. Japanese firms also have faced challenges from new technological and industrial competitors in markets where they had established strong positions, such as semiconductor memories. 1   The purpose of this chapter is to present the conclusions and recommendations in a concise way. Further discussion of the reasoning behind the task force's conclusions and recommendations, including consideration of alternative approaches considered by the task force, is provided in Chapter 6. The Executive Summary presents highlights of the conclusions and recommendations within the context of the entire study.

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Maximizing U.S. Interests in Science and Technology Relations with Japan But Important Asymmetries Continue to Exist Although the structural asymmetries in the U.S.-Japan science and technology relationship appear to have a less harmful impact on particular U.S. companies and industries now than has been the case in the past, wide imbalances still exist. Opportunities for U.S. companies to fully participate in the Japanese market are still constrained in a number of high-technology industries. Statistics on personnel exchanges, technology licensing between unaffiliated companies, and other aspects of the relationship reflect continued asymmetries. Therefore, a clear focus by policymakers and corporate managers on addressing these asymmetries will continue to be important. Japan Will Continue to Be a Major Partner and Competitor Japan-based companies, and most likely Japan as a location for research, innovation, and manufacturing, will remain formidable. Despite recent setbacks in competitiveness and technology development, the task force believes that Japanese companies will remain among the leading international competitors and collaborators for U.S. industry in a range of high technology manufacturing and service industries. The task force also believes that the current effort by the Japanese government to increase support for fundamental research will lead to noticeable gains in the depth, breadth, and quality of Japanese research over the next decade. U.S. Government Policies Should Be Oriented Toward the Long Term and Should Incorporate Industry Perspectives Future relations with Japan in science and technology can advance U.S. economic interests and involve greater mutual benefit than has been the case in the past, but formulating appropriate U.S. strategies requires a long-term perspective and consistent policy approach. Policymaking should include participation by U.S. industry. U.S. government and industry should aim over the long term to build domestic capabilities and international relationships in science, technology, and innovation that sustain and enhance wealth creation and high-wage employment in the United States. In particular, U.S. government and industry must continue efforts to build a more reciprocal U.S.-Japan science and technology relationship. Key Challenges Are Emerging in Asia The key future challenges facing the United States and Japan in ensuring that international science and technology relationships enhance domestic economic performance lie in Asia. Although addressing issues related to Asian scientific and technological ascendancy is beyond the scope of this study, the task force believes that its priorities and recommendations for the U.S.-Japan relationship are broadly applicable to science and technology relations with other countries, including the countries of Asia.

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Maximizing U.S. Interests in Science and Technology Relations with Japan PRIORITIES FOR THE UNITED STATES AND POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS Continue Public Support for National Capabilities Needed to Access and Utilize Japanese Science and Technology The relatively modest public investments in Japanese language training and Japanese research opportunities for U.S. scientists and engineers, and in efforts to collect and disseminate Japanese scientific and technological information, are valuable and should be maintained. Recommendations Stable, long-term U.S. government investment in training a group of Japan-capable scientists and engineers should be maintained, particularly where limited U.S. investments leverage significant amounts of Japanese funding. The U.S. government should maintain support for efforts to obtain, translate, and disseminate Japanese scientific, technical, business, and policy information. The US. government should continue to press Japanese government and companies to make certain categories of information that affect market participation and technology relationships, particularly laws, regulations, administrative guidance, and other policy-relevant documents, available to the public, preferably electronically. U.S. industry and industry associations should redouble their efforts to expand access to the Japanese market and Japanese technology and seek a greater role in Japanese and U.S. policy debates. Renew Efforts to Engage Japan in Mutually Equitable Science and Technology Relationships The task force believes that Japan will follow through on its stated goal of sharply increasing public spending on science and technology over the next several years. As the Japanese science and technology budget is rising rapidly and growth in the U.S. budget will be constrained at best, now is precisely the time that the U.S. private and public sectors should renew their efforts to engage Japan in cooperation that delivers equitable benefits. Recommendations The U.S. government should actively use the U.S.-Japan Science and Technology Agreement to advance U.S. interests by encouraging effective program management, developing metrics to track progress in the overall relationship, and ensuring that Japan 's new publicly funded research efforts are open. The United States should encourage expanded Japanese contributions in science, technology, and other cooperation that creates global benefits. U.S. companies and the U.S. government should utilize lessons from dealing with Japan in their dealings with emerging techno-industrial powers.

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Maximizing U.S. Interests in Science and Technology Relations with Japan Increase the Economic Benefits from U.S. Science and Technology Through Enhanced Industry-University-Government Cooperation This is no time to rest on our laurels. Japan and other countries around the world will continue to improve their own approaches to innovation. The United States must do the same. Although some aspects of federal support for civilian R&D are controversial, there is clearly room for better approaches to cooperation between industry, university, and government sectors in research, development, and commercialization. Recommendation U.S. industry, universities, and government should continue to increase investments in science and technology and develop new collaborative mechanisms that increase the economic returns on this investment. Partnerships focused on important commercial technologies linked with agency or broader national needs should be a particular priority. Resolving the issue of foreign participation in such programs, and participation by US.-based companies in foreign government programs, is a pressing task for the future. Expand Market Opportunities for U.S. Science and Technology-Based Products in Japan and Globally As this report documents, Japanese market access barriers have played a major role in differential economic benefits that Japan and the United States have derived from science and technology cooperation. Expanding opportunities for sales in foreign markets of U.S. science and technology-based products is increasingly essential to maintaining U.S. capabilities to generate and utilize innovation. Although there is a range of views on the task force regarding appropriate trade policy, there is agreement on several U.S. priorities for the future. Recommendations Effective implementation of the Uruguay Round will advance U.S. interests considerably. In future multilateral negotiations the United States should focus on areas where barriers to participation in the Japanese market continue to arise: direct investment and competition policy. The U.S. Trade Representative's Office, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and U.S. industry should develop a process to identify patent applications by US. citizens in Japan and perhaps other countries that covers major scientific and technological advances to ensure that these critical patents receive timely and effective protection. The United States should explore areas for cooperation and coordination in trade policy and in other areas with Japan and other countries to promote more open access to markets and economies in developing countries. As more developing countries recognize the value of foreign direct investment in raising their technology levels, the United States and Japan can have a greater impact when working together to encourage adherence to multilateral rules, and discourage national approaches that feature focused technology transfer as a condition for market participation. The United States and Japan should also work to develop common approaches to emerging issues on the multilateral agenda, such as trade and the environment.