A paper presented at the 4th International Conference on Japanese Information in Science, Technology, Industry, and Business (Sept. 5-8, 1995, Newcastle, U.K.)

Geoffrey M. Holdridge and Michael J. DeHaemer, Loyola College in Maryland

The Japanese Technology Evaluation Center (JTEC)1 was founded in 1983 as a program in the U.S. Department of Commerce aimed at gathering and disseminating information about Japanese technology in the open literature. The National Science Foundation (NSF) took over leadership of the program in 1985, giving JTEC a renewed mission to promote two-way exchange of scientific and technological information between the United States and Japan. Thirty-one JTEC reports have now been completed, with several more in progress as of this writing. Visiting JTEC study teams have been extremely well received by their Japanese hosts, a reception enhanced by NSF's worldwide reputation for promoting international cooperation in science and technology.

Early JTEC reports pointed out the benefits to the United States of cooperation with Japan in research and development (R&D). The 1985 panel on opto- and micro-electronics unanimously called for the United States to "foster and continue to increase present day information exchanges for mutual benefit" (Wieder and Spicer 1985, p. xvi). The 1986 biotechnology panel recommended "cooperation and exchange of information with Japan" (Oxender 1986, p. xix).

These early JTEC studies also were motivated largely by competitive impulses: the perception that Japan posed a threat to the United States in certain high technology industries. Even a cursory review of the early JTEC reports clearly demonstrates that the primary thrust of the program from the inception was competitive assessment. The 1985 Mechatronics report called for a U.S. "national response to the Japanese challenge in the area of Mechatronics ..." (Nevins 1985, p. 1-4). The same biotechnology panel quoted above also found that "the United States is expected to face its most serious challenge from Japan" (Oxender 1986, p. xiii). The 1986 JTEC panel on telecommunications technology stated its purpose as to "compare the status of R&D in Japan's telecommunications industry ... with that of the United States so as to try to predict the future of trade competition between the two countries" (Turin 1986, p. xi).

More recent JTEC studies are no different in this respect: although the results are useful in helping to formulate plans for cooperative R&D among the two nations, the primary motivation of most JTEC studies remains competitive. The 1992/93 panel on satellite communications concluded that "the market share of the U.S. satellite communications industry is at risk" (Edelson and Pelton 1993a, p. 1). That study's primary sponsor at NASA concluded that the study highlights the need for "emphasis in NASA's plan on the development of advanced technologies that will contribute to future U.S. competitiveness in satellite communications" (Edelson and Pelton 1993b, p. ii). The recent JTEC report on electronic packaging in Japan states that its purpose is to "understand the strengths of Japan's electronics industry as a step towards improving the vitality of the U.S. electronics industry" (Boulton 1995, p. xv).

Why Japan Cooperates

The obvious question is: why are the JTEC study teams welcomed so hospitably in Japan when their stated purpose is to improve the U.S. position in high technology industries with respect to Japan? The basic answer is that the JTEC program, both in its cooperative and its competitive modes, serves the interests not only of the United States, but also of the Japanese government agencies and companies that participate in the program. Some plausible reasons for this fall into the following categories: governmental relationships, collegial relationships, global benefits, corporate interests, and finally the JTEC methodology.

A. Governmental Relationships

The special U.S. - Japan relationship that has existed since the end of World War II remains highly valued in both countries. Despite differences on trade matters or even in U.N. debates on international crises, U.S. - Japan relationships in security and in science and technology remain extremely important to both countries. The National Science Foundation has officially requested the cooperation of Japanese government ministries in the JTEC program, in the spirit of the 1988 U.S. - Japan Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology. As a government-to-government program, the JTEC program operates in the context of the overall U.S. - Japan relationship. So far, both governments have evidently sought to avoid linkages between trade issues and other aspects of the relationship. In fact, at a May 1995 meeting at the Department of State 2, both U.S. and Japanese officials went out of their way to stress positive developments in the U.S. - Japan Common Agenda, perhaps as a counterbalance to the negative press attention that trade disputes have garnered.

Full access to U.S. science and technology (S&T) information is important to Japan. The Japanese may take the view that facilitating reciprocal access to Japanese information for Americans will help maintain Japan's access to U.S. information. In this light, Japanese government agencies such as STA, MITI, and the Ministry of Education (Monbusho) have provided special resources for improving foreign access to Japanese S&T information. The Japan Information Center for Science and Technology (JICST) provides an English-language version of its JICST database (JICST-E), no doubt at considerable expense. Monbusho funds the NACSIS database and initially supported special initiatives to make it available overseas. MITI and several other Japanese government agencies recently have been making a substantial amount of English-language information on Japanese S&T available on the World Wide Web. Supporting JTEC is another way that the Japanese government can help redress any perceived imbalances in the flow of S&T information between Japan and the rest of the world.

The Japanese government has an interest in attracting foreign scientific and technological talent to come to Japan. In fact, the Japanese government provides funds for programs administered by NSF and the Department of Commerce that pay for U.S. scientists and engineers to study, work, and live in Japan. The 1995 establishment of the Techno-Growth House in Tsukuba (U.S. Dept. of Commerce 1995) is only the most recent example of this.

JTEC studies can help to increase awareness around the world of centers of excellence in the Japanese research community. JTEC can also be helpful in this regard by identifying specific areas where international collaboration (under government or corporate auspices) may be fruitful. Such collaborations may involve either bringing foreign talent to work in Japanese laboratories or sending Japanese scientists to work abroad; both of these activities are in Japan's interests.

B. Collegial Relationships

Among the qualities that we look for in selecting JTEC panelists are prior knowledge of Japanese developments in the technology of interest and, even more important, personal contacts in the Japanese S&T community. Personal or collegial relationships are extremely useful in opening doors and in stimulating open discussion.

We also look for senior researchers who are internationally renowned for their work; these panelists are likely to enjoy a warm welcome. Furthermore, Japanese hosts will be inclined to show famous panelists their best work, even if these panelists have no prior contacts in Japan.

International site visits are a part of a well-established tradition in Japan. Japanese companies and government ministries routinely send technical delegations abroad on such site visits; they understand the need to receive reciprocal visits from their overseas colleagues.

C. Global Benefits

The free exchange of information is critical to progress in science and technology around the world. Countries that have operated their S&T enterprises under the cloak of secrecy (for example, the former Soviet Union) have found it difficult to keep up with the pace of technical progress elsewhere in the world because of the stultifying effect of secrecy rules and travel restrictions. Thus it is in the interests of both Japan and the United States to promote a two-way flow of pre-competitive scientific and technical information across the Pacific.

Healthy competition among firms, and indeed among nations, serves the best interests of both the United States and Japan in general. Both government and industry officials in Japan understand that a healthy U.S. high technology economy is as important to Japan as it is to the United States. To the extent that JTEC helps U.S. firms and government R&D programs by providing better information on the status of Japanese R&D, it also helps to promote the United States as a more effective competitor and a more fruitful source of S&T information useful to Japan.

Finally, the JTEC process provides Japanese hosts with an outside perspective on their R&D programs, providing them with an independent assessment attesting to the quality of their research.

D. Corporate Interests

Japanese companies may view JTEC as a form of free marketing. JTEC panelists visit them and report on the excellent R&D and product development they see there. This report is then broadly disseminated around the world. While specific Japanese products are only occasionally extolled in JTEC reports, these reports certainly can enhance the overall corporate image of the companies visited.

Japanese companies are often seeking to develop sales or collaborative R&D relationships with specific JTEC panelists or institutions they represent. This provides an incentive for open discussion and communications with visiting JTEC delegations. Many JTEC panelists have existing relationships with the Japanese companies they are visiting; others have developed such relationships subsequently as a result of their involvement in the JTEC process. Either way, these private relationships greatly enhance the access enjoyed by JTEC panelists in their official visits to Japan.

Japanese corporate management may also be highly confident in their ability to stay ahead of overseas competition, even when this competition has access to detailed information from relevant JTEC studies. JTEC hosts at Japanese companies sometimes seem more concerned about leaking confidential information to other Japanese companies through the JTEC process than they do about sharing this information with U.S. colleagues.

Japanese corporate hosts have commented several times that the JTEC reports afford them a unique opportunity learn about R&D activities at other Japanese companies. This may be especially true of companies that have decided not to participate in MITI or other Japanese government collaborative R&D programs that require sharing with other participants of "background" information concerning their internal R&D activities.

E. The JTEC Methodology

Cognizant of the strong rivalries among Japanese firms, the JTEC staff has taken special care to fashion a report review system that protects the confidentiality of our Japanese hosts, especially with respect to the transmittal of potentially sensitive information between one host and the next. Although the factors described above are very important in explaining the access that Americans (or Europeans) in general enjoy in Japan, the JTEC methodology is vital to preserving that access over time. It also helps explain the extra degree of openness that JTEC panelists have observed during their visits in Japan compared to their prior experiences in visiting under other auspices. Our report review procedure is one of several elements of the JTEC methodology that are designed to preserve our access over time. The following section describes this methodology in some detail. There are numerous variations, but most recent studies follow the general outline presented below.

JTEC Methodology

The primary mission of the JTEC program is to inform decisionmakers in U.S. government, academia, and industry on the status and trends in Japanese technology in comparison to the United States. Specific objectives include finding opportunities for cooperative R&D, as described above, determining who is doing the leading or the most promising work, and comparing Japanese and U.S. research approaches. One important goal is to offer insights into how U.S. research programs might be improved or funding priorities re-adjusted.

A basic principal of the JTEC methodology is that the objectives listed above are best achieved through assessing the outputs of Japanese research, rather than comparing funding inputs. In keeping with the NSF's peer-review system of evaluating research proposals, the JTEC assessments are performed entirely by leading U.S. scientists and engineers. For each technology of interest, JTEC impanels a team of about six U.S. experts. The panelists study the available literature, visit Japanese laboratories, and report on the results, first orally and then in a written report. The JTEC staff facilitates these activities, providing literature support, setting up the visits in Japan, organizing the panel's meetings, and editing and disseminating the reports.

The stages that a typical JTEC study go through in this process are illustrated in Figure 1. These stages are as follows: study definition and funding, kickoff meeting, literature review and trip advance preparations, site visits (Japan trip), draft site report review, workshop (i.e., oral presentation of preliminary findings), draft analytical report review, final report production, and dissemination of results.

Figure 1. Typical JTEC Timeline

A. Study Definition

Each study begins with a concept definition phase in which representatives of NSF and other interested U.S. government agencies discuss potential study topics and commit funds for the study. Mission agencies that have an interest in a given topic usually transfer funds to NSF, which in turn uses these funds to supplement Loyola College's grant to operate the JTEC program 3. In this respect the JTEC program stands out as an excellent example of cost-effective inter-agency collaboration in areas of overlapping interest: the government avoids expensive duplication of effort, and individual agencies leverage their limited funds. Once funding and a general outline of the scope have been decided, JTEC recruits a panel chair, who in turn works with sponsors and staff in identifying other panelists.

B. Kickoff Meeting

The panel meets once before the Japan trip (see "kickoff" in Figure 1) to receive guidance on study objectives directly from the sponsors. Based on this guidance, panelists refine the scope of the study, usually in the form of a draft report outline, and allocate sub-topics among themselves. Typically each panelist prepares one chapter of the report detailing developments in Japan in a specific technology subtopic or application area.

C. Literature Review and Advance Preparations for Trip

The first six JTEC panels based their conclusions only on a literature review. It quickly became apparent, however, that visits to Japanese laboratories would provide a far more accurate perspective on both the scale and quality of the research underway. Even a brief tour of a working laboratory can yield insights that are impossible from a review of old papers. For example, one recent JTEC site visit started with a very impressive "board room" presentation by our hosts; the laboratories that we toured later were full of wonderful equipment, but were largely devoid of people or other evidence of active research. A literature review alone might have resulted in a very different overall impression from the one that our panelists received from this visit.

In-person visits also can yield more current information than literature reviews. Because research results are published several months to several years after the research actually takes place, a literature review alone offers little information on current activities. Therefore every JTEC study since 1987 has included a visit to Japan.

In conducting our first visits to Japan, we quickly learned the importance of careful advance preparations. Panelists are tempted to focus on the trip as the sole source of information for the study. The JTEC staff encourages panelists to avoid that temptation by performing a careful review of the available literature prior to the trip. We conduct literature searches on databases covering publications in both English and Japanese. Japanese language publications that appear to offer key information are translated (though we must be extremely judicious in the use of translation services in order to keep within budget). Even without acquiring the actual publications, a list of titles, abstracts, and authors (such as can be found on the JICST-E database) can be very useful. This information helps JTEC panelists identify sites to visit, and, more important, the correct questions to ask at those sites. Hosts are impressed by informed questions; conversely, they will seldom volunteer the answer if the correct question is not asked.

As key part of these advance preparations, JTEC employs professional advance contractors to assist with literature support (particularly in reviewing Japanese language sources) and organize the trip. Having an experienced person fluent in Japanese as the single point of contact for the trip arrangements is extremely important. The advance contractor visits prospective hosts in person to explain the purpose of the mission, seek advice on other sites that should be visited, and make detailed arrangements for the visit, all the while taking care to go through the correct channels and follow the appropriate procedures. Since JTEC panels re-visit the same Japanese companies over and over again, we depend on the judgement and tact of our advance contractors to make sure that we will be welcomed again.

As discussed above, the personal contacts and professional reputations of JTEC panelists are important in convincing some potential hosts to receive our study teams. Advance contractors for the trip carefully coordinate letters of introduction from panelists and other personal contacts made on behalf of the panel. They also capitalize on the reputations of our panelists, circulating biographies of all travelling team members to prospective hosts.

D. Site Visits

The duration of the typical JTEC panel's time in Japan is usually limited to about one week due to constraints on both travel budgets and panelists' schedules. The more senior the panelists, the more severe is the latter constraint. To maximize the information gathered in such a short time, the travelling team (usually including several sponsors and a staff representative) is divided up into two or more sub-groups. Each sub-group normally visits two sites per day. (Some recent panels have chosen to visit a smaller number of sites in an effort to gather more in-depth information.) We request in advance that the hosts keep the amount of time spent in meeting rooms during these visits limited, allowing time for laboratory tours. JTEC teams also seek to optimize information exchange by preparing a list of written questions for the hosts in advance; these questions help the hosts understand the focus of the panel's interests, allowing them to decide whom to include in the delegation receiving the JTEC team. These questions can also be answered in writing, either before or after the site visit. This allows time during the actual site visit for more informal, and usually more fruitful, discussions.

Ideally, team members prepare draft site reports the evening after each visit, transcribing notes and getting as much down on paper as possible right after the visit, while the information is still fresh in their minds. These site reports are an essential part of the process: panelists are not always able to visit every site relevant to their sub-topics in the report outline, so they depend on site reports prepared by other team members for information relevant to their respective chapters in the analytical report.

E. Draft Site Report Review

First draft site reports, along with any relevant literature provided by hosts, are circulated among the panelists immediately following their return from Japan. Each site report is also sent immediately to the host for a first-tier review. It is important to emphasize here that at this initial review stage each host sees only the site report for his institution. We invite the host not only to correct errors but also to request deletion of any sensitive or confidential material from the draft site report before it is circulated to any of the other hosts. This relatively recent refinement in our review procedure is intended to address the hosts' concerns, noted above, that sensitive material not fall into the hands of their domestic (i.e., Japanese) competitors. This procedure is explained ahead of time by our advance contractor in the hopes that it will encourage a more open exchange of information during the site visits. In this way we seek to maintain a relationship of trust with each of the hosts.

The early review of first draft site reports also provides another information source for the report. We can ask follow-up questions when sending the draft site reports to the hosts, or simply leave question marks or blanks in the draft site report trusting that the hosts will provide the missing information.

F. Workshop

The first public airing of the panel's preliminary findings is at a one-day workshop, held in the Washington, DC area. This meeting usually takes place four to six weeks following the panel's Japan trip. Panelists meet in private the day before the public workshop to discuss these findings and refine their presentations. Review comments on draft site reports are accounted for during this rehearsal meeting. The JTEC staff produces a book of paper copies of the viewgraphs shown at the workshop, which becomes the first publicly available document of the panel's findings. We encourage the hosts to send representatives to the workshop to afford them another opportunity to comment on the panel's findings. Indeed, we use the term "workshop" because one of the purposes of the meeting is for the panel to receive feedback from sponsors, host representatives, and the research community at large; ample time is allocated for questions and open discussion.

G. Draft Analytical Report

We strongly encourage panelists to prepare first drafts of their chapters of the analytical report in advance of the workshop, circulating them among themselves for internal review comments and supplemental information. Following the workshop, panelists revise their chapters based on input from workshop participants, hosts, sponsors, and each other. A month or two after the workshop, the JTEC staff assembles these revised draft chapters into a full draft analytical report. Site reports revised in response to the first-tier review by the hosts are included as appendices. This draft of the panel's full report is then sent to hosts, sponsors, and usually other U.S. readers for another confidential review. At the same time, we send it to our technical editor to clean up the language and put the report into a consistent style.

H. Final Report

The JTEC staff and panelists work together to respond to the many changes, both substantive and editorial, that are suggested during this review process. Panelists' retain the final say on how to respond to these suggestions, though we ask them to honor at least the intent of hosts' comments. Just before going to press, the JTEC Staff Director/Series Editor personally looks over all review comments to make sure that none have been neglected, negotiating any necessary final changes with the authors and/or the panel chair. Other senior staff members also proof the final copy several times. With so many authors, hosts, and other reviewers involved, and considering the amount of time that passes from first site visit to publication of the final report, it is no surprise that we always seem to discover a number of issues that have "slipped through the cracks" up to that point.

Of course, anyone who has been involved in this kind of production work understands that there is no such thing as a perfect manuscript. We get as close as we can within the constraints of budgets, time, and human fallibility.

As described above, we go out of our way to make sure that our hosts in Japan are as satisfied with the published results of our studies as are our customers here in the United States and our readers elsewhere in the world. Some may even conclude that we have gone too far by instituting multiple review phases (three phases, counting the draft site reports, the workshop, and the full draft report) that inevitably delay the publication of the final results.

We do not feel that this is the case for two main reasons:

  1. Our funding sponsors have earliest possible access to draft information from the studies: they can participate in the site visits themselves, they have access to the first draft site reports, they get a book of workshop viewgraphs as a first written report within at most two months after the trip, and they participate in the review of the full draft report.

  2. We are convinced that by honoring the confidentiality concerns of our hosts, and thus reaffirming our trusting relationships with them, we are afforded better access in Japan. Failure to do so would jeopardize our access for future studies.

It is in this latter respect that we try to assure our hosts that the JTEC program is and will remain as much in their interests as it is in ours. Some may feel that we go too far in allowing our hosts to "sanitize" the results of our analyses, thus allowing our process to be coopted. We do not accept that argument for the simple reason that our primary clients in the U.S. government have full access to early drafts. Furthermore, we do not feel obligated to honor review comments from hosts in which they seek to modify our analyses. Finally, it is not our role to ferret out information that our hosts wish to keep private -- confidential information that may slip into first draft reports is there inadvertently, and thus is willingly deleted from published versions.

I. Dissemination

A renewed emphasis on dissemination in recent years has yielded a steady increase in report distribution. In addition to our workshops and printed reports, results are disseminated through presentations made by our panelists at professional society meetings and other national and international conferences. All recent JTEC and WTEC 4 reports also have been converted into hypertext, and are available on our World Wide Web server ( in their entirety.

One measure of the value of JTEC reports is how the Japanese view them. JTEC reports are in great demand in Japan. At last count, Japanese corporations were purchasing more JTEC reports from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) 5 than any other category of NTIS customer. A summary of one JTEC report was reputedly used as part of a funding justification submitted to the Japanese Diet. Japanese users regularly download large sections of JTEC reports from our World Wide Web server.


Of course, our primary purpose is to serve the interests of the United States. Measuring how well we achieve that purpose is no small task. Survey responses from workshop participants and report recipients are overwhelmingly positive. But finding out how our reports are used, either by our direct clients in the U.S. government or by U.S industry, is very difficult indeed. We disseminate the findings of our studies as widely as possible, leaving it to others to draw policy conclusions or take appropriate action.

A. Findings

The findings of the JTEC studies speak for themselves. For a summary of JTEC findings spanning the first ten years of the program, see the JTEC/WTEC Annual Report and Program Summary, 1993/94 (Holdridge 1994). Copies are available from the JTEC office or from NTIS. Table 1, summarizing the results of the first 25 JTEC studies, is taken from that report. The references and bibliography sections at the end of this paper list final reports that have been published since the Program Summary was completed. An updated edition of the Program Summary will be available in the next year.

Table 1
Japanese Strengths and Weaknesses (Compared to U.S.)

Source: Holdridge 1994

B. Evaluation of Impact

Even though our knowledge of how the JTEC studies are used is limited, it is still worthwhile to review what we do know. The JTEC staff is not privy to internal discussions within the U.S. government agencies that sponsor our studies. However, we can cite the following examples:


JTEC panelists have often expressed admiration for the way in which Japanese companies cooperate so effectively with each other in some domains (e.g., cooperative research in pre-competitive R&D), yet compete so fiercely with each other in their product lines. Both the cooperation and the competition are in the best interests of all concerned: cooperation in research (often encouraged or coordinated by the government) helps avoid duplication of effort and pools scarce R&D resources; competition in products forces companies to constantly improve product lines, streamline management, and invest in downstream R&D to keep up. This strong competitive environment within Japan helps make Japanese companies such strong competitors internationally.

For the same reasons that simultaneous cooperation and competition benefits companies within Japan, cooperation in pre-competitive R&D is beneficial internationally. Thus, the JTEC program serves the best interests of both the United States and Japan by identifying opportunities for cooperation and by helping the U.S. high technology sector compete more effectively. It provides a factual basis for informed policymaking in both industry and government.

Japan maintains comparable efforts to assess and learn from the latest U.S. technology. The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO 1993) has concluded that the Japanese government spends far more to keep track of U.S. technology than does the U.S. government in assessing developments in Japan. Internal foreign technology monitoring activities in both U.S. and Japanese corporations are probably on a larger scale than government efforts. European nations also allocate significant resources to monitor Japanese technology. Undoubtedly there are European programs aimed at keeping track of developments in U.S. technology as well.

We must avoid the mistake of thinking of these technology monitoring and exchange projects in the same way that we think about military intelligence activities (where one side's gain is clearly the other's loss). This is not a zero sum game. Advantages gained by one nation in technology monitoring are not at the expense of others. The results of our kind of information gathering benefit all the parties involved.

Technology monitoring and reporting activities such as JTEC create stimuli for R&D on an international scale. This point was driven home a few months ago when the JTEC office received visitors from a major European corporation that maintains a technology monitoring office in Tokyo. The subject of the JTEC study on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) (Wise 1994) came up during this meeting. This JTEC study was at least partially motivated by concern that the MITI micromachine initiative might pose a competitive challenge to the United States. The JTEC MEMS panel found that, although the United States is ahead in many important MEMS technologies and applications, there are also exciting and promising developments underway in Japan, both in laboratories funded by the MITI Micromachine Center (MMC) and at private corporations not participating in the MMC program. However, after the study was completed and the final report was published, one of the MEMS panelists commented that JTEC had actually picked the wrong country to study, asserting that the real competition in MEMS applications will come from Europe. He went on to describe some of the seminal developments at Karlsruhe (Germany) and other European labs.

When we related this anecdote to our European guests that day, their response was that early U.S. leadership in the MEMS field was used as an argument to justify the acceleration of European R&D funding for MEMS. Similarly, the MITI program, and perhaps also the unrelated efforts at some Japanese companies, also may be motivated to some extent by a concern that the Americans or the Europeans would "steal a march" on Japan in this arena, developing a dominant position in the huge potential markets for MEMS devices and downstream products.

The net effect of all this is a rapid acceleration around the world of MEMS R&D. Much as the U.S. - Soviet "space race" of the 1950s and 1960s, predicated in part on incorrect U.S. assessments of the size of the Soviet ICBM force, greatly speeded up the pace of innovation in aerospace technology, so the (possibly) mistaken notion around the industrial world that "the competition" is ahead in MEMS is in fact promoting the accelerated development of MEMS technology and applications worldwide. Why is this in the interests of the taxpayers and consumers who are paying the R&D bills? One only need look as far as the nearest U.S. auto showroom, where even the least expensive vehicles sport one or more air bags incorporating MEMS accelerometers. Without the cost-savings offered by MEMS technology, it is not clear that air bags could have been offered routinely in the U.S. market long before they were mandated by U.S. federal law.

The Future

The ongoing budget crisis in the U.S. government underscores the need for cost-effective foreign technology assessment activities. In the current political climate, R&D programs are difficult to justify to the U.S. Congress. Accurate assessments of overseas R&D activities help budget cutters decide how to set new R&D priorities without unduly harming U.S. interests. Such assessments can be helpful in formulating strategies to encourage the development of promising new technologies, rather than preserving the status quo.

It is difficult in almost any democracy to explain why scarce resources should be allocated to research and development at the expense of social programs or tax cuts (depending on the current political wind). In the corporate boardrooms of the world, proposals for R&D spending face a virtual gauntlet of stockholders demanding improved quarterly earnings and Wall Street raiders threatening hostile takeovers. Technology assessment activities like JTEC underscore the danger of ignoring the long-term view: important markets, or even national security could be undermined by unwise or precipitous downsizing of R&D activities.

Directly and indirectly, JTEC research stimulates investments in R&D that benefit U.S. high technology industries and employment. The whole world benefits from competition in high technology R&D, both through economic multiplier effects and the development of new products and services.

A fundamental lesson that JTEC draws from Japan is the value of foreign technology assessment itself. At least since the Meiji Restoration, this has been one key to Japan's success. Continued international exchange of scientific and technological information will be instrumental to our mutual success in the next century.

Geoffrey M. Holdridge
Michael J. DeHaemer
International Technology Research Institute
Loyola College in Maryland
Ocher House
4501 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21210



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Turin, George (ed.). JTECH Panel Report on Telecommunications Technology in Japan. McLean, VA: SAIC, May 1986. NTIS PB86-202330.

U.S. Department of Commerce. "Techno-Growth House, Tsukuba City" (press release). Washington, DC: Office of International Technology Policy, June 1995.

U.S. Department of Commerce, Government of Japan. "Collaborative Topics (Civil Industrial Technology)" (handout at the Plenary Session of the U.S. - Japan Common Agenda, May 11, 1995 Loy Henderson Conference Room). Washington, DC: Office of Japan Affairs, May 1995.

U.S. Department of Defense. "Clinton Administration Provides Additional $30-40 Million in Plan to Improve Competitiveness of U.S. Electronic Packaging Industries" (press release). Washington, DC: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), March 1994.

U.S. General Accounting Office. Collection and Dissemination of Japanese Information Can Be Improved. Washington, DC, September 1993. GAO/NSIAD-93-251.

Wang, Daniel (ed.). JTEC Panel Report on Bioprocess Engineering in Japan. Baltimore, MD: Japanese Technology Evaluation Center, Loyola College, May 1992. NTIS PB92-100213.

Wieder, Harry and William Spicer (eds.). JTECH Panel Report on Opto- and Microelectronics. McLean, VA: SAIC, May 1985. NTIS PB85-242402.

Wiederhold, Gio (ed.). JTEC Panel Report on Database Use and Technology in Japan. Baltimore, MD: Japanese Technology Evaluation Center, Loyola College, April 1992. NTIS PB92-100221.

Wilkins, Dick J. (ed.). JTEC Panel Report on Advanced Manufacturing Technology for Polymer Composite Structures in Japan. Baltimore, MD: International Technology Research Institute, Loyola College, April 1994. NTIS PB94-161403.*

Wise, Kensall D. (ed.). JTEC Panel Report on Microelectromechanical Systems in Japan. Baltimore, MD: International Technology Research Institute, Loyola College, September 1994. NTIS PB95-10244.*


Other JTEC and WTEC reports not specifically cited in this paper are listed below in chronological order. Some recent reports are available directly from the JTEC/WTEC office. All JTEC/WTEC reports are available from NTIS (5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, VA 22161; tel. 1-703-487-4650; FAX 1-703-321-8547).

JTECH Panel Report on Computer Science in Japan (12/84). NTIS PB85-216760.

JTECH Panel Report on Advanced Materials (5/86). NTIS PB86-229929/XAB.

JTECH Panel Report on Advanced Computing in Japan (12/87). NTIS PB88-153572/XAB.

JTECH Panel Report on CIM and CAD for the Semiconductor Industry in Japan (12/88). NTIS PB89-138259/XAB.

JTECH Panel Report on the Japanese Exploratory Research for Advanced Technology (ERATO) Program (12/88). NTIS PB89-133946/XAB.

JTECH Panel Report on Advanced Sensors in Japan (1/89). NTIS PB89-158760/XAB.

JTEC Panel Report on High Temperature Superconductivity in Japan (11/89). NTIS PB90-123126.

JTEC Panel Report on Space Propulsion in Japan (8/90). NTIS PB90-215732.

JTEC Panel Report on Nuclear Power in Japan (10/90). NTIS PB90-215724.

JTEC Panel Report on Space Robotics in Japan (1/91). NTIS PB91-100040.

JTEC Panel Report on High Definition Systems in Japan (2/91). NTIS PB91-100032.

JTEC Panel Report on Construction Technologies in Japan (6/91). NTIS PB91-100057.

JTEC Program Summary (9/91). NTIS PB92-119429.

WTEC Panel Report on European Nuclear Instrumentation and Controls (12/91). NTIS PB92-100197.

JTEC Panel Report on Material Handling Technologies in Japan (2/93). NTIS PB93-128197.

JTEC Panel Report on Knowledge-Based Systems in Japan (5/93). NTIS PB93-170124.*

NASA/NSF Panel Report on Satellite Communications Systems & Technology: Vol. II. Site Reports (7/93). NTIS PB94-100187.

WTEC Monograph on Instrumentation, Control & Safety Systems of Canadian Nuclear Facilities (7/93). NTIS PB93-218295.

ITRI Monograph on Benchmark Technologies Abroad: Findings From 40 Assessments, 1984-94 (4/94). NTIS PB94-136637.

WTEC Panel Report on Research Submersibles and Undersea Technologies (6/94). NTIS PB94-184843.*

WTEC Panel Report on Display Technologies in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus (12/94). NTIS PB95-144390.*

JTEC Monograph on Biodegradable Polymers and Plastics in Japan (3/95). NTIS PB95-199071.*

* indicates reports available on the JTEC/WTEC World Wide Web server (


1. Plenary Session of the U.S. - Japan Common Agenda, May 11, 1995. The Common Agenda has been negotiated under the U.S. - Japan Framework for a New Economic Partnership. While some of the trade-related aspects of the Framework talks have proven contentious, both sides point to the Common Agenda as one successful outcome from these negotiations.

2. Plenary Session of the U.S. - Japan Common Agenda, May 11, 1995. The Common Agenda has been negotiated under the U.S. - Japan Framework for a New Economic Partnership. While some of the trade-related aspects of the Framework talks have proven contentious, both sides point to the Common Agenda as one successful outcome from these negotiations.

3. The 1991/92 JTEC study on X-ray lithography was wholly funded by a direct grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to Loyola College. ONR also has contributed to NSF-funded JTEC studies recently through direct grants to Loyola.

4. The "World Technology Evaluation Center" (WTEC) is a companion program to JTEC, also managed for NSF by the International Technology Research Institute at Loyola College. WTEC assesses technology in countries other than Japan using much the same methodology as JTEC.

5. NTIS, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is the archival distributor of JTEC and WTEC reports.

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11 September, 1995

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