Our conclusions in this area are summarized as follows:
A survey of three years of working papers of the Special Interest Group on Knowledge-Based Systems of the Japan Society for AI shows a wide range of research topics, touching on most of the subjects of current interest in the U.S.
The quality of research at a few top-level universities in Japan is in the same range as at top-level U.S. universities and research institutes. However, in the remainder of the Japanese university system the quality of research is not equal to that at first or second tier U.S. research centers. The quantity of research (in terms of number of projects and/or number of publications) is considerably smaller compared to the U.S.
LIFE is the world leader in applying fuzzy logic concepts to classic AI core problems.
Japanese industrial laboratories appear to be doing advanced development that is tightly coupled to application or product development. JCMs and some other Japanese high technology companies are carrying out some knowledge-based systems research, but most non-computer companies do none. We saw, essentially, a thin layer of excellent work at Hitachi, Toshiba, NEC, Fujitsu and NTT, and (on previous visits) at IBM Japan and Sony. The most basic and deepest work is at Hitachi's Advanced Research Laboratory, which is conducting advanced research in model-based reasoning and machine learning.