protection is often narrow. The ability of U.S. firms to participate in the Japanese market is closely tied to intellectual property protection, particularly for smaller companies.
Although U.S. policy approaches to trade and science and technology relations with Japan do involve some mutual consultation and overlap, they are mainly pursued along separate tracks. Options for effectively linking science and technology with trade are discussed in Chapter 3.
In order to undertake effective science and technology cooperation with Japanese organizations and utilize cooperation to produce concrete benefits, U.S. companies and agencies require access to skilled human resources. American scientists, engineers, managers and policy makers with Japanese language skills who can effectively operate in a Japanese environment are required, as are native Japanese scientists, engineers and managers.
Although the flows of scientific and technical personnel between the two countries are still highly imbalanced—many more Japanese travel to the United States than vice versa—over the past decade the United States has been able to build a base of institutions and skilled human resources to undertake science and technology cooperation with Japan. At the bilateral level, a number of U.S.-Japan programs (the NSF Summer Institute, the DOC-MITI Manufacturing Technology Fellowships, the MIT Japan Program and other university-based efforts) support the development of this human resource base by providing opportunities for U.S. scientists and engineers to work and do research in Japan, often with significant Japanese financial or in-kind contributions. The Japanese government is also increasing its support for Japanese post-doctoral fellows at the National Institutes of Health.
Most participants agreed that a great deal of progress has been made in the policy environment surrounding U.S.-Japan science and engineering human resources development and personnel exchange. Some participants pointed out that bilateral programs are not very heavily subscribed, reflecting disincentives for U.S. scientists and engineers to interrupt their careers to work overseas, and the low premium put on international skills by U.S. employers. According to other participants, technology-based strategic alliances, which often involve hundreds of U.S. and Japanese engineers in a given project, also serve to utilize and develop these skills. As pointed out above, the environment for such market-driven cooperation is heavily influenced by the openness of the Japanese market in particular industries.