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1 Introduction The United States and Japan are now approaching a relationship of compara- tive strength in fields of science as well as technology. Japan's success in the marketplace is based on engineering capabilities, in particular those that contrib- ute to the development and commercialization of high technology products. While the strength of American scientific research is unmatched anywhere in the world, new efforts will be needed to maintain leadership in many fields of science, to improve capabilities needed to acquire and adapt technology from abroad, and to efficiently produce and market products globally. This new context presents challenges and opportunities for American and Japanese researchers, businesspeople, and policymakers. A central question is how to improve access to Japanese science and technology. Improved access and collaboration in research and development (R&D), if carefully structured, should ultimately benefit both countries. There is a special urgency because of the very real possibility that frictions and restrictions will result if these questions are not addressed effectively and soon enough. Inhere are many reasons that can be given for why there are so many more Japanese researchers in U.S. laboratories than vice versa. The dears of American technical personnel with Japanese language capability, the lack of Japanese experience in transferring technology to advanced industrial countries, the weak- ness in U.S. capabilities to access foreign technology, and inadequate knowledge of where the best research is going on in Japan all come to mind. These factors all relate to differences in the ways that the two countries conduct R&D. They also highlight the need for improved understanding of how lapan's R&D system works. "You have to know the system" to work it and work in it this is the basic 1
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2 rationale for a series of bilateral meetings organized by the National Research Council's Office of Japan Affairs in cooperation with the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science asPS) and other organizations in Japan. The value of a U.S.-Japan dialog on R&D systems is clear for Japan as well. For years, Japanese researchers have experienced first hand the working environ- ment for research in the United States. Today, however, Japan is attempting to improve its basic research effort as well as to move into new fields of advanced technology R&D. In this context, there is still much that Japanese researchers can learn from the U.S. R&D system. This report covers insights gained from a two-day bilateral meeting held on June 5 and 6, 1989 at the Beckman Center, the West Coast meeting center of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering in Irvine, California. The participants included senior scientists, engineers, and research managers from national laboratories, private corporations, and other organizations in the two countries. The meeting was designed to focus on organizations that are neither purely academic nor purely industrial the wide array of national laboratories, professional associations, consulting organizations, and '`hybrid" organizations (such as govemment-sponsored joint R&D projects carried out by industry in Japan). The two chairmen were Roland Schmitt, president of Rensselaer Poly- technic Institute and formerly senior vice president, science and technology at General Electric, and Sogo Okamura, professor of Tokyo Denki University and former dean of the school of engineering of the University of Tokyo. The meeting was the second in a series of three. A report of the first meeting, Learning the R&D System: University Research in Japan and the United States is available from the Office of Japan Affairs. A third meeting on industrial R&D is planned for early 1990. Prepared by the Office of Japan Affairs, this report highlights parts of the discussion that shed light on the way that R&D is conducted in the two countries, and on the broader implications for collaboration between the United States and Japan. It is not a consensus document or a conference proceedings. Nor is it an exhaustive treatment of the many non-academic, non-industrial research organi- zations in the United States and Japan.
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