Keidanren's Expectations to making of the Science & Technology Basic Plan

-- The road map to attractive Japan --

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.

  1. Keidanren's basic attitude toward the future of science and technology
    1. The mission for science and technology of the time:
    2. In order to make Japan more attractive, there are four important missions for science and technology. The most important mission for science and technology is that it should provide young generations of people with dreams, hope and bright prospect for the future so that those people could set higher goals to achieve. For years to come, this society needs young power and talent. Through science and technology, the level of Japan's intellectual activities should be raised so that young people will be able to have high hopes.

      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.

    3. The vision and ideal relating to R&D
    4. In order to meet demands of the time, Keidanren set up following five points which represent Keidanren's ideal for the future research and development.

      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.

  2. Keidanren's Expectation toward the Science and Technology Basic Plan
  3. In order to build the future R&D system which enables us to meet the demands of the time in the field of science and technology, government should do consensus building among people for the promotion of science and technology as a part of the public policy, and that build up the contents of "intelligence capital or assets" to utilize them. Representing Japanese industries, Keidanren strongly recommends to Japanese government at least following three points to be included in the processes of making the Science and Technology Basic Plan.

    Keidanren's three points for recommendation

    The Japanese government should:

    1. Increase the government budget and rejuvenate the system
      1. To increase the government budget for the promotion of science and technology and higher education.

        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;

        1. Rejuvenate the basic infrastructure for science and technology; expand facilities and build and innovate research labs at universities, increase governmental fund or aid to scientific research, build up genetic culture collection and informational data-base service in relation to science-technological policies.

        2. Improve the situation for research personals, engineers and technicians; in addition to improving the treatment toward these personals, government should raise their social recognition and occupational status by rejuvenating the present public awards systems for wider recipients.

        3. Carry out national projects for their practical use; directly considering its practical use, carry out big national projects in relation to the field of energy including environment and population, the field of life science including the preparation for coming aged society, and the field of security and safety; and also carry out such big international projects as ITER (International Thermo-nuclear Experimental Reactor) and Space Station Program.

      2. To make strategic as well as comprehensive policies for science and technology and its effective implementation.

        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;

        1. Focus on promoting appropriate scheme for science and technology for the 21st century (verifying their science and technology policies, systems, entities, their management techniques). Government should redefine the role of science and technology in coming years and reflecting so called "the border-less trend" of our time, under such cooperations as inter-disciplinary, intra-bureaucratic, inter-industrial-sectorial and international ones which could possibly produce a new breed of engineers and scientists including social science, who can be the socio, economic, politico main stream of the 21st century;

        2. Build intra-bureaucratic information data-base service in relation to science-technological policies.

        3. Arbitrate a consensus building mainly through the function of the Council for Science and Technology.

    2. Revitalize the relationship among industry, academics and bureaucracy, and strengthen its "trinity" coalition:
      1. The revitalization of universities, national research institutes and academic societies.

        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:

        1. University reforms which are under a proper influence of the social and international factors should be carried out. University reforms which are internally undergoing should step up further reform measures toward more open universities.

        2. The revitalization of national research institutes; especially, the role and management of national research institutes which are closely related with industrial activities should be redefined. Parallel to this effort, through the introduction of contract researchers and strengthening of exchange programs by mobilizing research personals should be encouraged.
          In addition, the management of the national research institutes should be left to private sectors.

        3. The revitalization of academic societies: more governmental aid or subsidies should be given to the academic societies which actively offer such service as distributing scientific and technological information domestically and internationally so that they will be able to act not only as specialists in the social function but also as organizers for international exchanges.

      2. The extension of self-efforts by private sectors:

        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:

        1. Tax credit for private R&D should be encouraged.

        2. Big projects which can facilitate socio-economic and industrial infrastructure for the next generation of industrial society should be launched.

        3. The rights and interests of Intellectual Property Right between right holders and users should be appropriately balanced, and global harmonization of IPR should be promoted.

      3. Building a new industrial-academic relationship

        In order to create new industries and meet other social needs, both industry and academia should build cooperative relations to carry out innovations:

        1. Deregulatory measures should be introduced to the governmental regulations in relation to the national public service law which defines the working regulations of national public personals in order to activate or mobilize industrial-academic personal exchange and cooperative research between them.

        2. Venture businesses should be promoted.

    3. Human resources
      1. Better science curriculum both in elementary and middle school education

        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.

      2. Higher education

        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.

        1. "New thinking" should be introduced to the faculty members and university communities and the present curriculum should be reconsidered: Japanese universities (national universities) should have the educational criteria and curriculum which meet both international level and social demands.

        2. The mobilization of research personals: the introduction of contract based "term system" for research personals and reviewing of a series of governmental regulation are necessary.

        3. Improvement in school entrance-examinations should be done.

      3. The commitment of private companies

        Along with governmental efforts, Japanese corporations should make an effort to promote following measures: Japanese corporations should;

        1. Offer attractive working opportunities for young people.

        2. Reconsider recruiting methods which have been employed, the present evaluation criteria and treatment.

        3. Give enough information referring to what industries are looking for to both professors and students.

        4. Accept both Japanese and foreign students for companies' trainee programs.

        5. Be ready for job mobilization (job hopping) among research personals and engineers.

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