The Japanese Cabinet is setting aside 46 billion yen ($416 million) in planned subsidies for SMEs, small enterprises or other entities in fiscal 2017, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). The subsidies are part of the government’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and geared toward business activities based on R&D results. Subsidies for SMEs The […]
Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has recently become a buzzword around the globe. The processing power of microchips is now strong enough for machines to do very complex tasks. In 2015, Google’s AlphaGo defeated the best human players in the board game Go, which was considered the last bastion of human advantage. It did not use pure computing power, but deep […]
In my home country Germany, freedom of science is guaranteed by the Basic Law, as the constitution is called. When the Academic Freedom Act came into force in 2012, it increased self-governance of non-university research institutes in addition to universities. In contrast, the science sector in Japan has traditionally been strongly controlled by the ministries. Recently however, there is a […]
Government and ministries strongly guide Japan’s science sector. So let us look into the new Fifth Science and Technology Basic Plan that came into force this April, which should lead the path for the country’s Science and Technology (S&T) for the next five years. It places a strong emphasis on internationalization. The aim is to make Japan the “most innovation-friendly […]
Technology transfer from science to industry has not been particularly well developed in Japan traditionally. Yet the country’s level of science is excellent and offers a good source for industry and even foreign companies. Before turning to the latest developments in the Japanese Science and Technology system in my next article, let me today make a detour to the situation […]
Remarkably, in 1986 the mounting U.S. trade deficit in semiconductors with Japan even led to a trade agreement easing the situation. The Japanese semiconductor industry was expanding rapidly. Technologically, this was the outcome of the most successful of the so-called Big Projects I described in a previous article: The research association for the very-large-scale integrated circuit VLSI (1976-1980) helped push […]
Japan was closed to the outside until the Meiji Era (1868), but still learned, adapted and perfected techniques. Craftsmanship was widespread and well regarded. The country strongly industrialized until World War II. It was dominated by big industrial groups like the Zaibatsu, which were linked to families like Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Sumitomo and Yasuda.