THE TECHNOPOLIS STRATEGY: Japan, High Technology, and the Control of the 21st Century by Sheridan Tatsuno

THE TECHNOPOLIS STRATEGY: Japan, High Technology, and the Control of the 21st Century

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A credibly documented report on how those who run Japan Inc. hope to build on that nation's past to make it a world-class power in advanced technologies by the turn of the century. Tatsuno, who follows Japanese semiconductor companies for a research service, offers a scenario notable for its lack of either fanciful conjecture or overstated conclusions. In the main, his case rests on position papers published by government agencies, including the vaunted MITI (Ministry of International Trade and Industry), an appreciation of Japanese history, and obviously fruitful field trips. He characterizes the so-called Technopolis Strategy as the centerpiece of a six-point program designed to maintain Japan's export-trade lead over Asian rivals in state-of-the-art fields and put it abreast if not ahead of the US, which is seen as devoting too much energy to military/defense projects. Other elements in the master plan: joint R&D ventures (e.g., the fifth-generation computer); multinational alliances; installation of an ultramodern telecommunications network; promotion of capital-market structures that will encourage entrepreneurial enterprise, especially in emergent disciplines like bioscience and software; and retention of exclusionary import/investment policies which effectively deny most foreign corporations access to home markets. The Technopolis Strategy is a long. term proposition. Employed since the early 1980's, it involves creation of 20-odd high-tech centers (modeled on California's Silicon Valley) throughout the nation; the eventual goal is to revivify sunset industries as well as to further productive partnerships among business, universities, and local governments. The new communities represent a genuine break with the past since prefectures and participating corporations, not MITI or the national government, will play the leading roles in financing and development. The success of the strategy is by no means assured, however. Among other problems, Tatsuno points to a lack of infrastructure and engineering /technical talent at the regional level. Perhaps the biggest problem is the Japanese educational system, which has produced an elite executive corps whose capacity to support risk-taking innovation on the part of subordinates has yet to be proven. A wide-ranging and knowledgeable rundown.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Brady/Prentice Hall