April 16, 1996
Japan's future could possibly depend upon the next 5 years. Japanese private sector is eagerly hoping to make Japan more attractive in years to come. For this cause, we at Keidanren, strongly believe that the Science and Technology Basic Plan will be able to provide a good opportunity to maximize our efforts to make Japan more attractive. As a series of new measures have already been taken respectively to improve the present situations by industry as well as universities, national research institutes and public research corporations. The Science and Technology Basic Plan is supposed to have its mission to verify the road map to the research and development system for the year of 2000 reconsidering each R&D system and the reform measures which are undergoing. In order to carry out the mission or responsibilities mentioned above, two approaches can be considered: the first approach is that Japanese government should show the nation its clear and firm attitude that the government is seriously working on the reform by increasing the government budget for science and technology as well as higher education within the next 5 years reflecting upon Keidanren's long time policy recommendations to increase governmental funds and loans for the promotion of science and technology; the second approach is that it should show its mandatory schedule to reform nation-wide science and technological system including the educational system.
For industrial sector, as shown in the followings given below, we, at Keidanren, would define our basic attitude and intention toward science and technology policy and propose our views and expectations toward the government's Science and Technology Basic Plan.
The secondly, it has a mission to overcome the problems lying in the issue on the survival of human beings. Although scientific knowledge and information on such world-wide problems as energy shortages, environmental problems, population explosion, food shortages, medical problems which are closely related to our survival are vital and in urgent need, they are extremely lacking. Japan which comprises 17% of the world GDP should make a contribution to solving these problems and working together at international level to maximize her efforts for this cause.
The thirdly, it should ensure sustainable development for Japanese economy. At a verge of new industrial wave such as the emerging phenomena of information society as well as the rise of computer soft ware which could change today's business, Japanese business community is very concerned about the future of their industry. By taking advantage of Japan's characteristics and strong points along with emerging environment, it should provide us with a new paradigm for different industrial environment by creating new industries and venture businesses, and transforming old industrial structure to the one with international conformity.
The lastly, it should ensure to provide safety and high standard of living: for the creation of affluent society in a real term, it should tackle such problems as the preparation for aged society, relief measures for natural hazard including the early warning measures, safety measures, overcoming of incurable diseases, urbanization problems and counter-measures for the depopulation trend in the countryside.
First of all, Japan should aim to play a role as "the center of excellence". In facilitating R&D global network at various levels, Japan should level up its intelligence capacities not only to attract researchers from overseas but also to gain trust and high expectations from other countries. The fruits of R&D in the field of science and technology could be merged together with the studies of social science to build up socio-economic infrastructure for further development. They should also be used as "intelligence capital or asset" which are available to anyone.
The secondly, Japan should provide opportunities and working environment where researchers and engineers could conduct their own research or experiments without any difficulties. With intellectual stimulation and fair evaluation on their research and rewarding outcome, under dynamic and flexible management, the competitive but cooperative atmosphere for the working environment could be maintained so that researchers with a high moral will be able to continue their research. Especially, under this new scheme, it should focus upon people with a high creativity and young researchers.
The thirdly, the research alliance and the relationship among industries, academics, bureaucracy should be strengthened. By increasing the government budget for science and technology, government should build up well balanced R&D system consists of industry, universities and national research institutes, and also network researchers by mobilizing its research personals to cooperate closely in a more cohesive industrial-academic-bureaucratic relations. And not only government (here, it means national research institutes) but also industries and universities should deal with the issue relating to "the future R&D schemes supposed to be" and often exchange views one another. Through more cohesive relations between industries and universities, the industry should access to the information on the prospective industrial seeds which universities have, and the universities should realize the needs which the industry has.
The fourthly, a new scheme is supposed to aim at the swift utilization of new technologies for making new products. In information age, government should harness more accessible technological market which would lead new technology to develop new products in a quick process. Government should also employ a series of measures to lower the production cost, increase the productivity and innovate facilities in the field of conventional industries. Parallel to these measures, government should constantly incubate new industries and venture business including its vitalization.
The fifthly, it should build the society which breeds creative human resources to support coming techno-revolution. In this attempt, the principle of egalitarianism for the great majority of people should be reconsidered and well-talented people should be more appreciated. And taking advantage of this timely opportunity of making the Science and Technology Basic Plan, government should show a scenario for science-technology development plan 20 -- 30 years ahead to share with Japanese people.
Government should consider the world-class scientific and technological stock as "intelligence capital or assets" which is affiliated with other important social and industrial infrastructure i.e., bridges, roads and hospitals to help build the society in the year of 2000. In the next 5 years, government should consecutively raise the amount of expenditure for both science and technology and higher education to the level of those of western highly industrialized countries. In order to meet this goal, government should implement following measures: the Japanese government should;
Government should rejuvenate the scheme by transforming its 50 year old system to new one in order to cope with a new environment emerging in the year of 2000. The Science and Technology Basic Plan is supposed to be designed to be dynamic enough to proceed even structural reforms. In order to meet this goal, government should implement following measures: Government should;
Prior to the revitalization processes of this triangular relations, each of these entities is supposed to have its own characteristics and become internationally distinguished to have relationship with. It means that universities which can give worthy relations as well as be attractive enough for industries to conduct cooperative research with, national research institutes which can predict changes to lead a society and even country in a changing period, and universities whose academic programs and research levels are as high as the international criteria should be established. In order to meet this goals, each entity should adapt following measures:
Japanese industries have a strong intention to strengthen its own R&D programs to provide better technologies and products to their customers, through which they could contribute to level up the society. In order to extend these self-efforts done by the industries, following measures should be taken:
In order to create new industries and meet other social needs, both industry and academia should build cooperative relations to carry out innovations:
At an early stage of compulsory education, interesting and fulfilling science classes should be taught. In order to offer interesting classes on science at elementary and middle schools, it is urgent to have teachers with a strong interest in science who are committed to teaching students the enjoyment of learning science.
Industries (companies) are very concerned about the quality of college graduates in relation to the creativity which newly graduates are supposed to have. In order to satisfy the recruiting criteria which companies have, following measures can be recommended.
Along with governmental efforts, Japanese corporations should make an effort to promote following measures: Japanese corporations should;