jurisdiction of one of MITI’s operational arms, the Agency of Industrial Technology and Science (AIST), which in FY1985 had a budget of ¥ 122 billion. A sister agency, the Japan Industrial Technology Association, functions as the licensing agency of AIST and provides regular information on foreign technology developments.
Typical of MITI’s procedural mode is its program on advanced materials, the R&D Project on Basic Technology for Future Industries. This program, under the auspices of AIST, targets three general research areas—biotechnology, electronics, and advanced materials. Generally, AIST forms a non-governmental advisory committee for each project, and an industrial association is created to work cooperatively with all other members of the organization and of MITI’s national laboratories.
To complement Japan’s already complex industry-government cooperative agenda, a new dimension has recently been added. In October 1985, the Diet established the Japan Key Technology Center to be run under the joint oversight of MITI and the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications. The Key-TEC program (estimated to cost about ¥31 billion) is viewed as part of a needed effort to bolster science by supporting long-range applied and fundamental research on key, but very new, advanced technologies. The focus of the program is to be about 10 years out in front of current knowledge and is supposed to result not so much in prototype products as in generic information on which later development of products can be based. Because of the advanced technology mission of Key-TEC, the program can be described as a Japanese civilian analog of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
The rapid industrial development of South Korea matches or even surpasses that of Japan, and for many of the same reasons. Industrial developments proceed rapidly because of a strong government that places science and technology in a favored position and rewards the corporations and organizations that are most successful in promoting international trade.
The Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology is the largest government supporter of materials science and engineering in South Korea. Overall, materials research in South Korea is divided into two major categories: (1) conventional materials (improvement and import reduction) and (2) technology development (advanced materials). The former category is supported primarily by industry, whereas research in the latter category is financed almost exclusively by the government in a public-private cooperative system. In 1985, there were about 29 advanced materials projects under way in South Korea that included efforts in metals, polymers, composites, and fine ceramics.