Site: MITI

Date Visited: October 2, 1991

Report Author: M. Slusarczuk





Nobuhiro Miyake

Discussion leader, formerly of the Finance Ministry

Junya Nishimoto
Harumitsu Suzuki

MITI is organized into eleven bureaus plus some external agencies. The bureau applicable to flat-panel displays is the Machines and Information Industries Bureau. This bureau includes machinery industries as well as information industries. It has more than 200 persons.

The industrial electronics division includes computers, communication, medical electronics, and semiconductor components. This division has an interest in FPDs. Nishimoto is in charge of the FPD area, with Suzuki as his assistant.

MITI supports Japanese R&D by helping to define and support:

  1. Large-scale national R&D projects through Agency for Industrial Science & Technology (AIST)
  2. New materials projects
  3. 16 national laboratories, each of which specializes in a particular area
  4. Direct support to private companies through projects like the Japan Key Technology Center. These projects are supported in part by money derived from dividends on the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone stock held by the Japanese government.

The fourth category provides a new system for industry to foster consortia such as HDTEC and the Giant Technology Corporation (GTC). These consortia do research in basic generic areas. Companies send engineers/scientists to work with those from other companies in government-led groups. Companies are willing to cooperate in these efforts so long as they focus on basic generic areas. Once the technology approaches the product stage, it is further developed by the individual companies.

Eight areas that have been selected for this type of development are:

  1. New materials
  2. Biotechnology
  3. Machinery
  4. Electronics
  5. Telecommunications
  6. Radio-communications
  7. Networking
  8. Image processing

Areas 1-4 are administered by MITI, and areas 5-8 are administered by the MPT.

We also learned from Professor Kobayashi of Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology that the project-selection process is slow and involves consensus- building. It includes senior professors from major universities (mostly from around Tokyo), leaders from industry, and government officials. Prof. Kobayashi was instrumental in establishing the Giant Electronics Group.

Published: June 1992; WTEC Hyper- Librarian