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Industrial, Science, Technology and Innovation Policies in South Korea and Japan

Murat A. Yülek and Hongyul Han

Designing effective industrial and science, technology and innovation (STI) policies is still an ongoing quest for both developed and developing countries. This book examines industrial as well as STI policies in East Asian countries South Korea and Japan comparatively. Japan is one of the largest industrial economies in the world. However, it is experiencing competitiveness problems with a relative fall in its manufacturing industry indicators such as exports. Korea is, on the other hand, a rapidly rising industrial power challenging larger peers including Japan. The two economies are competing in similar markets and are on different cycles of development. This book looks at the competitive positions of the two countries in the field of industrial and STI policies in general and in the sectors of railway equipment, medical equipment, aviation equipment and electronics.

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Chapter 1: STI Policies in Japan

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1.1 Introduction

Japan’s industrialization process started in the second half of the nineteenth century. Focused industrial policies targeting textiles and certain machinery industries made Japan a major industrial manufacturer and exporter by the first half of the following century. Before the Second World War, this position was strengthened. For example, Japan sourced around a quarter of world textiles exports in 1955 compared to approximately two percent in 1910–3 (Rose, 1990: 3). After the Second World War, Japan again implemented industrial policies targeting certain industries. At the end of the High Growth Period (1953–1973) it became the second largest economy in the world on the back of an export-oriented manufacturing sector. As the industrial base strengthened, science, technology and innovation (STI) policies gained importance. In the process, STI policies largely substituted industrial policies.

Today, Japan is also one of the largest industrial producers in the world. Its specialization allows it to host some of the largest firms in certain manufacturing sectors such as automobiles, electronics, robots, electrical and non-electrical machinery and chemical goods.

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