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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 9: STI and Industrial Policies in Korea: Railway Equipment


9.1 Industry Overview

Korea introduced the railway service fort the first time in 1899, which was expanded during the Japanese colonization in order to expedite the integration of the Korean peninsular into the Japanese economy and advancement to the continent. Korea’s railway system was mostly destroyed by the Korean War and it was not until the 1960s that Korea started to rebuild it.40 In order to facilitate fast industrialization in the 60s and 70s, Korea made huge investments not only to restore destroyed railway systems into double track railways but also create new railways. Korea also started to construct an electric railway and a subway system in the 1970s, although more investment was made in express roads to accommodate increased industrial transportation demand. In 1992, Korea first started to construct a high speed railway system between Seoul and Busan (the second largest city and biggest port located in the far southeast region of the Korean peninsula), and continued to expand the subway system networks mostly in Seoul (Table 9.1 and 9.2).

Korea relies more on the road system than the railway system. Both passenger and freight transportation takes about 75% of total demand. It is the only country among OECD members within which the total length of the railway is shorter than that of the express road. The length of the railway per 10,000 people remains at 0.24 km in the Seoul metropolitan area, which is significantly lower than those of London, Paris...

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