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-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.
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.
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.