Research and development in Japan

Research And Development In Japan

Research and development in Japan

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Research and development are important to the Japanese economy.

As its economy matured in the 1970s and 1980s, Japan gradually shifted away from dependence on foreign research. Japan's ability to conduct independent research and development became a decisive factor in boosting the nation's competitiveness. As early as 1980, the Science and Technology Agency, a component of the Kantei (office of the Prime Minister) announced the beginning of "the era of Japan's technological independence."

By 1986 Japan had come to devote a higher proportion of its GNP to research and development than the United States. In 1989 nearly 700,000 Japanese were engaged in research and development, more than the number of French, British, and West Germans combined. At the same time, Japan was producing more engineers than any country except the United States and Soviet Union. Similar trends were seen in the use of capital resources. Japan spent US$39.1 billion on government and private research and development in 1987, equivalent to 2.9 percent of its national income (the highest ratio in the world). Although the United States spent around US$108.2 billion on research and development in 1987, only 2.6 percent of its income was devoted to that purpose, ranking it third behind Japan and West Germany.

The Japanese reputation for originality also increased. Of the 1.2 million patents registered worldwide in 1985, 40 percent were Japanese, and Japanese citizens took out 19 percent of the 120,000...
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