Conventional wisdom in the United States holds that the persistent Japanese recession results from a failure of Japanese industrial policies, implying that Western scientists, engineers, and business people need no longer worry about Japanese competition. Much of the information leading to these conclusions comes from journalists who interview traditionally modest and pessimistic business leaders in Japan. More objective measures show that Japan's favored high-technology export industries continue to excel. Balance-of-trade figures show only slightly smaller surpluses with the United States, even as much of the final assembly manufacturing has moved to other Pacific Rim nations, which now show substantial trade surpluses as well. Further, peer review of the underlying science and technology resources of Japan reveals that the recession has not slowed Japanese progress in overtaking the West in research, development and commercialization of scientific discoveries. Indeed, by moving much manufacturing offshore, the Japanese have become even more formidable competitors, better poised than Westerners to exploit exploding Pacific Rim markets.1
This paper was presented at the fifth International Conference on Japanese Inormation in Science, Technology, and Commerce, Library of Congress, Washington, DC. July 31, 1997.
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1 This document is based on work sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Commerce (DOC), and other agencies of the U.S. government under NSF Cooperative Agreement No. ENG-9416970, awarded to the International Technology Research Institute at Loyola College. Any opinions expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Government.
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