More than ever before Japan is committed to becoming a science and technology-oriented nation. With the challenge of the Asian economic crisis in the late 1 990s, there is pressure on the Japanese economy to change. Japan continues to turn to science and technology to safeguard its future, but there is more than one path to follow. A team of three leading scholars in the field explore the dynamic relationship between science, technology and Japanese society, examining how it has contributed to economic growth and the well-being of the Japanese people. They ask if there is anything distinctively Japanese about Japanese science, in terms of both its development and application.
This book presents a synthesis of recent debates by juxtaposing competing views about the role and direction of science, technology and medical care in Japan. Much of the book looks at government policy, the role of the private sector, and the response of concerned citizens. Other topics discussed include computers and communication, quality control and the automobile industry, the aerospace industry, the environment, consumer electronics, changes in medical care, and the role of gender.
Part I explores the features of the Japanese model of research and development. It differentiates between basic and applied research and considers the question of cooperation versus competition in national R&D projects. Part 2 focuses on the relevance of science and technology to economic growth, and Part 3 examines the impact of globalisation on the flow of science and technology in and out of Japan. Part 4 critiques the concept of 'national interest', arguing that supposed national goals are often determined by powerful institutional or corporate groups with particular vested interests.
This book is an ideal introductory text for students in the sociology of science and technology, the history and philosophy of science, and Japanese studies. Up-to-date research and contemporary case studies make this an invaluable resource for readers interested in the nature of science and technology in the twenty-first century.