Libmonster ID: SE-341
Author(s) of the publication: AKIRA IMAMURA


Minister, Head of the Information Department of the Japanese Embassy in Russia

KeywordsJapaninnovationcompetitivenesscooperation with Russia

October 2010 The World Economic Forum * has published a report on international competitiveness. It analyzed the international competitiveness of 139 countries and economies of the world by various parameters. In the section "Innovation and Business Sophistication", Japan took the first place (see the table).

Japan is being overtaken by Asian countries such as China and South Korea: its share in sales of smartphones and other types of information home appliances on the global market has fallen to 25% in recent years. But in the production of materials and raw materials from which components of these products are made, Japan has the lion's share - 66%1. From this, it can be observed that Japan is focusing its efforts on research and development in a number of strategically important areas.


Ranking of countries by international competitiveness (139 countries, including Taiwan and Hong Kong)

Overall rating

Rating in the field of innovation and business sophistication

1. Switzerland

1. Japan

2. Sweden

2. Switzerland

3. Singapore

3. Sweden

4. USA

4. USA

5. Germany

5. Germany

6. Japan

6. Finland

7. Finland

7. Taiwan

8. The Netherlands

8. The Netherlands

9. Denmark

9. Denmark

10. Canada

10. Singapore

Source: World Economic Forum. The Global Competitiveness Report 2010 - 2011, p. 16 - - 11.pdf


I would like to draw your attention to the latest concrete achievements in the following areas, where Japan is putting its efforts.

- Energy saving and eco-technologies

Japan uses its own resources to meet only 4% of its energy needs. Therefore, the "oil crises" of the 1970s also served as an impetus to increase the efficiency of energy use and save energy. Currently, the country occupies one of the leading places in the world in terms of energy efficiency.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), per unit of gross domestic product, Japan spends 1 unit of conventional fuel, the European Union - 1.9, the United States - 2, China - 8.7, and Russia - 18 (see chart 1).

However, given the growing problems of the Earth's ecology, including climate change, in recent years Japan has increased investment in research and development in order to transition to a low-carbon society.

So, currently in Japan, electric cars are being popularized as next-generation cars. They are driven by electric motors, so there is no exhaust gas. And in the process of generating the electricity needed to recharge them, 69% less carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere than in conventional gasoline-powered cars.2

The electric car can be recharged from the household power grid. In addition, high-speed charging stations are being created, where you can charge your car in 30 minutes.

In 2010, gi became the leader of sales among motor vehicles in Japan-

* The World Economic Forum is an international non-governmental organization whose activities are aimed at promoting international cooperation. It was established in 1971. The forum's members are about 1 thousand large companies and organizations from different countries of the world, including Russia (editor's note).

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Figure 1. Conventional fuel consumption per unit of GDP.

Source: Calculation of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan based on "IEA Key World Energy Statistics 2006".

a breed car*. Perhaps the day is not far off when electric cars will take the top positions in the ratings of such sales.

High-speed electric railway trains are also considered vehicles with low carbon dioxide emissions. In particular, Japanese Shinkansen trains reach a maximum speed of 300 km / h when transporting passengers. In 2011, it is planned to raise this figure to 330 km / h, while increasing energy savings.

The Shinkansen network is also notable for the fact that in the 40 years of its existence, it has not experienced a single death caused by railway systems. And the average delay time for trains during the year is only 0.6 minutes.

Based on the most important characteristics of the Shinkansen network trains and their operating system, such as high safety and reliability, Japan seeks to expand their exports to other countries.

New materials and nanotechnologies

We are also working successfully on other technologies that can reduce the burden on the world's environment.

One of them is the development of next-generation solar cells. Now most of the solar panels are made using silicone. Scientific research is being conducted, the subject of which is non-silicon solar panels with a lower cost and high efficiency.

For example, the Integrated Research Institute of Industry and Technology (AIST), in collaboration with private companies, has developed a flexible solar cell that uses a thin film, including copper and gallium. Among these types of batteries, it has the highest efficiency in power generation (15.5%) 3.

Another example is the development of ultra-heat-resistant materials. Due to the fact that thermal power plants emit a large amount of carbon dioxide, it became necessary to increase their efficiency by increasing the combustion temperature. However, until now, there were no materials that could withstand sufficiently high temperatures. The Research Institute of Matter and Materials has been successful in developing such materials by applying the atomic-level construction method. Research and development of a turbine using these materials is currently underway in cooperation with a private company4.

Medicine and life sciences, robotics, information and communication technologies

Japanese society is facing the problem of rapidly aging population: now almost every fourth resident of the country is over 65 years old. This has led to an increase in medical costs and a reduction in the working-age population.

However, Japan sees the aging of society rather as a good opportunity for research and development in the field of medicine and care for the sick and elderly, and strengthens research and development in these areas.

Scientific research in the field of regenerative medicine, which allows you to restore organs and tissues lost as a result of illness or injury, is receiving increased attention.

In 2007, Shinya Yamanaka, a professor at Kyoto University, created stem cells (iPS cells) from human skin cells for the first time in the world, which have the ability to divide into cells of various organs of the human body. So, with their help, they learned to create pulsating cells of the myocardium (heart muscle)5.

Research is also being conducted on the practical application of robotics for medical purposes. For example, the HAL ® robot suit developed by Cyberdyne, which is worn on the body, helps and replenishes human motor functions. Sensors attached to the skin respond to the smallest signals of a living organism, and the robot moves in accordance with the movements of human muscles. Such costumes can be used by the disabled and elderly 6.

Another example is the robot Paro, the development of a Comprehensive Research Institute of Industry and Technology. It is made in the form of a soft toy seal. The robot understands 50 words, is happy when it is picked up, is angry if it is hit, and can express other emotions. It is proven that contact with Paro helps to treat depression, relieve stressful conditions. The seal robot is used in practice, including in nursing homes 7.

Noteworthy is the development in which information and communication technologies and medicine have merged together. In 2008, Japan launched an SPT-

* Hybrid vehicle - a highly economical vehicle driven by the "internal combustion engine - generator - battery - drive" system. As a rule, an electric battery is used (approx. ed.).

page 44

Kizuna's communication nickname, which can quickly send and receive large amounts of information over the Internet. It is planned to be used for emergency communication during natural disasters, in telemedicine and distance learning.

In an experiment conducted in November 2010, a link was established between a hospital in Tokyo and a doctor's office on a remote island where the patient was staying. Tokyo specialists analyzed the data, including the video image obtained using an endoscope, made a diagnosis and gave their recommendations.8


It seems that a number of factors contribute to the development of innovation, which will be discussed below.

Socio-economic factors

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2008, the share of investment in research and development (R & D) in Japan's GDP reached 3.5%, exceeding that of the US and EU (see figure 2).

A distinctive feature of Japan is the high share of private companies in R & D investments.

Despite the fact that since the early 1990s. Japan experienced a prolonged recession, and investment in R & D increased. It is no coincidence that Japan ranks 4th (after Finland, Iceland, and New Zealand) in terms of the number of researchers per 1,000 working-age population among the OECD member countries.

What is the return on investment in R & D?

According to OECD statistics, Japan ranks 2nd (after Switzerland). by the number of patents per 1,000 people. It would seem that the results achieved correspond to the investment. On the other hand, Japan remains at the bottom of the list of developed countries in terms of the number of citations in scientific papers. This is where improvement is needed.

It seems that among the most important social indicators related to innovation is the teaching of scientific disciplines in schools. Poor on natural resources, Japan has always attached great importance to investment in human capital, which in a certain sense can be called its only resource.

According to the OECD's 2010 study of the level of knowledge of students aged 15, Japan ranked 5th in science in 2009 among 65 countries and regions (after Shanghai, which participated as a city, Finland, Hong Kong, and Singapore) .9

On the other hand, there have also been worrying trends in recent years - a decline in students ' interest in science and mathematics. Many point out the need to strengthen the teaching of scientific disciplines.

Cultural and historical environment

As a factor explaining Japan's high competitiveness in manufacturing industries, it is often pointed out that there is a special production culture - monozukuri.

Japanese artisans have traditionally mastered the secrets of craftsmanship, fine handwork, through years of improving their skills, which were then passed down from generation to generation. In the country, 53% of the added value in production sectors is generated by medium and small enterprises, among which there are many that, thanks to the skill of artisans, occupy leading positions in the world market.

An important feature of the Monozukuri culture has also been the well-established coordination of various production processes, which can lead to the development of new products.-

Figure 2. Share of R & D expenditures in GDP of Japan, the United States, the European Union, and all OECD countries (in%).

Источник: OECD. Main Science and Technology Indicators (MSTI), May 2010: vol. 2010/1, p. 20 - http://www.oecd.Org/dataoecd/9/44/41850733.pdf

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The toraya is called suriawase, i.e. "lapping". Perhaps this coordination, aimed at optimizing production, can be explained by the spirit of collectivism that is inherent in the Japanese. No less interesting is such a unique advanced production method as the kanban system*, which was also created in Japan.

Now let's turn to examples that illustrate the modern use of traditional technologies.

Kyoyaki ceramics have been produced in Kyoto since the 16th century. Based on this tradition, the Kyoto-based Kuosega company has established the production of high-quality modern ceramics, which are used in the manufacture of computer and car parts, writing elements, ballpoint pens, knives, and even artificial bones for medicine, etc. 10

Another example is traditional Japanese swords. The city of Seki, located in the central part of Japan, has been known for more than 700 years as a center for the production of high-quality katana swords. Kai Industries, a company based in this city, produces various types of blades. Its disposable surgical scalpels are manufactured using traditional methods, and the tip is refined at the nanoscale. In this area, the company has the largest share in the global market 11.

There are also interesting examples in architecture. Currently, the world's tallest free-standing TV tower, Tokyo Sky Tree (634 m high), is under construction in Tokyo. At the same time, technologies based on traditional earthquake-resistant five-tiered pagodas are used. In the center of such a pagoda is a long pillar, which is separated from the tiers and in the event of an earthquake reduces the strength of vibrations by the interaction that occurs between them. This method of damping vibrations was used in the construction of the Tokyo Sky Tree12 tower.

Systemic policy measures

In recent years, important systemic measures have been taken to promote innovation.

First of all, it is the strategic implementation of the science and technology policy, i.e. the integrated development of science and technology, taking into account the long-term perspective.

In 1995, the basic law on science and technology was adopted, and since 1996, 5-year basic work plans in this area have been approved. In 2001, under the leadership of the Prime Minister, a comprehensive scientific and technical council was established to serve as a command center for interagency policy and baseline development in this area and to be responsible for its implementation.13

In 2008, the law on strengthening the R & D potential was adopted, which focuses on innovation. It is aimed at intensifying the reform of the system necessary to strengthen innovation, and, in particular, provides for the activation of scientific research in higher education institutions, strengthening interaction between industrial and scientific circles, improving the level of scientific and technical education, mastering scientific and technical management, encouraging young scientists, additional measures for the practical implementation of developments, strengthening international exchanges, etc. etc. 14

The New Growth Strategy adopted by the Kahn Cabinet in June 2010 was an important step forward. The special feature of this strategy is that it names "green innovations" and "innovations for life"as growth points. Problems of preserving the eco-list-

Kanban (kamban) - a system for organizing production and supply, which allows you to implement the "just in time" principle. Developed and implemented for the first time in the world in the early 1960s by Toyota (editor's note).

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We land and an aging society are seen as an opportunity to increase demand through innovation.

In addition, such goals as the export of infrastructure facilities to Asia, which has become a global growth center, and the creation of a free trade zone in this region are being set.

The goal is also set to increase R & D spending to above 4% of GDP by 202015.

Taking into account the implementation of the New Growth Strategy, it was decided to actually reduce the taxes levied on private companies by 5%. The possibility of easing the existing tax regimes in special cases is being considered by creating a comprehensive system of special zones, within which tax and other support will be provided.

An important area of the innovation development system in recent years has been the strengthening of interaction between industrial and scientific circles. The United States remains the leader in this area. Since the late 1990s, Japan has also adopted relevant legislation.

Thus, professors of state universities have acquired the opportunity to obtain patents based on the results of their research, which was carried out at the expense of the state budget, as well as to hold positions in private companies. As a result, the number of venture capital enterprises created on the basis of the results of scientific research at universities has increased.

For example, Cyber-dyne, the company that developed the HAL ® robot suit, is a venture founded by a professor at the University of Tsukuba 16. The number of studies conducted jointly by universities and private companies has also increased.

Centers are being created where various research institutions are brought together. The largest such center is the city of science Tsukuba, located 60 km from Tokyo. It is interesting that during its construction, which began in the 1970s, the experience of the Novosibirsk Akademgorodok was also taken into account.

In Tsukuba, there are about 300 public and private research institutions, 13 thousand scientists work. Of these, 3,700 people came from foreign countries.

Private companies have also opened their own research centers in Tsukuba, following public research institutions. Now there are also companies with foreign capital, such as, for example, the American Intel.

Using the accumulated potential, the Integrated Research Institute of Industry and Technology, the Research Institute of Matter and Materials and the University of Tsukuba are working together to create a single platform for the study of nanotechnology17.

Through the participation of public research institutions, research involving a high degree of risk becomes possible, which could not be carried out by private companies alone.


At the Japan-Russia summit held during the APEC summit in Yokohama in November 2010, Prime Minister Narendra Modan and President Dmitry Medvedev agreed to strengthen relations in all areas, including the settlement of the territorial problem. N. Kan stated his intention to conduct Japanese-Russian cooperation with a focus on the following three main areas:: 1) economic cooperation, 2) cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, and 3) cooperation in the international arena.

During the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Japan and Russia, S. Maehara and S. Lavrov, which took place on February 11 in Moscow, it was confirmed that there is a large discrepancy in the positions of Japan and Russia on the territorial issue. However, the parties agreed on the need to find a solution acceptable to both sides based on the agreements already reached between the two countries and agreed to continue consultations in a calm atmosphere. In addition, the parties agreed to develop Japanese-Russian relations in all areas, including politics, economy, culture and international cooperation, in order to overcome the existing problems between the two countries and build decent relations as partners in the Asia-Pacific region.

Taking into account the potential of the two countries, we have great opportunities for further development of mutually beneficial and complementary economic cooperation. In particular, there are great opportunities for cooperation in the field of innovation, since the five areas of modernization of the Russian economy, which were named by Dmitry Medvedev (energy efficiency improvement, medicine, space and telecommunications, nuclear energy and information technology), largely coincide with the goals set out in the New Growth Strategy of Japan.

In March 2010, at a meeting of the Japan-Russia Commission for scientific and technical cooperation, 33 research projects were adopted, which are related to the listed five areas of modernization. In April 2010, during the Japan-Russia Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, the two sides agreed to cooperate in these areas, and in November, a meeting of the Japan-Russia Economic Advisory Council was held to modernize the Russian economy.18

What are the prospects for such cooperation?

Cooperation in the field of energy efficiency improvement is progressing most successfully.

In 2010, two meetings of the Japan-Russia joint Commission on energy conservation and new types of energy were held, and an action plan was adopted. The issue of building a wind power plant and installing equipment for cogeneration (joint generation of electric and thermal energy) with the participation of Japanese companies is being considered on Russian Island, where Vladivos will be held-

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APEC Tokyo Summit 2012 This would provide the summit with electricity and heat 19.

The Sakhalin-Khabarovsk-Vladivostok gas pipeline is currently under construction. In this regard, the possibility of Japanese companies ' participation in the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Vladivostok is being considered 20. Natural gas is characterized by a relatively small amount of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere compared to oil and coal. In addition, its volume during liquefaction is significantly reduced, which makes it possible to effectively export gas. In November 2010, an agreement was signed with Japanese companies for the supply of 30 high-efficiency gas turbines for cogeneration facilities that will be created along the pipeline line. This is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and reduce electricity and heat charges 21.

During the visit of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to Japan in 2009, a Japanese-Russian agreement on cooperation in the field of nuclear energy was signed. In February 2011, the Japanese Parliament began the process of ratification of this agreement. Japan has advanced technologies in the construction of nuclear reactors; Japanese companies participate in all three global consortia in this area. On the other hand, Russia has the world's largest share of the enriched uranium market. It is expected that the entry into force of this agreement will lead to the development of Japanese-Russian cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

In the field of space exploration, Japanese-Russian cooperation is already underway within the framework of the International Space Station (ISS). In 2009-2010. Japanese cosmonaut Soichi Noguchi flew to the ISS on the Soyuz spacecraft. He set a new record for the longest stay in space among the Japanese. Noguchi conducted a series of experiments on the Japanese-built Kibo experiment module. In addition, in January, the Konotori-2 cargo ship launched by Japan docked with the ISS, delivering the necessary cargo to it. It is worth noting that Japan has advanced technologies in the field of artificial satellites and probes. The Hayabusa probe landed on the Itokawa asteroid, collected some samples from its surface, and returned to Earth. This event - the first example of a return from a celestial body other than the moon - made the top ten news stories in Japan in 2010.22there are various opportunities for cooperation in the field of communications and medicine.

A high-capacity submarine cable has already been laid between Japan and Russia, which made it possible to establish an Internet connection with Russia and Europe via the shortest route.

In the field of medicine, there is a great potential for cooperation in the export of Japanese high-quality medical devices, as well as in the field of telemedicine. In 2011 Japan has introduced a medical visa system that simplifies the procedure for issuing visas to foreign citizens, including Russians, who come to Japan to receive high-quality medical services.23

Large-scale earthquakes hit Eastern Japan on March 11-

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earthquake and tsunami. This natural disaster was the worst in the entire post-war history of Japan: the number of dead and missing exceeded 27 thousand people. There was a serious accident at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant. Russia has sent search and rescue teams to the affected areas, one of the largest among other countries in the world, and also provided humanitarian assistance.

On March 14, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in a telephone call to Japanese Prime Minister Nikolai Kan, expressed deep condolences and feelings of solidarity on behalf of the entire Russian people, and also expressed readiness to provide all possible assistance and assistance. Prime Minister N. Kan expressed gratitude for the kind words and offer of assistance.

In addition to humanitarian aid, assistance is provided in various areas. Russia has already sent specialists in the field of nuclear energy to Japan, provided dosimeters and other items. In addition, the issue of increasing the supply of liquefied natural gas and other energy carriers from Russia is being considered due to the lack of electricity caused by damage to many power plants in Eastern Japan.

On April 12, a month after the earthquake, Prime Minister N. Kan said that the country's revival is not just about restoring what it was, but should be carried out with a focus on the future, anticipating the future. Setting the direction, he emphasized three points: building regions that are resilient to natural disasters; creating a social system in harmony with the Earth's ecology; and building a society that is attentive to people, in particular to their weak members. In addition, he said that the situation at the nuclear power plant is gradually stabilizing, and all measures are being taken to prevent harm to human health. As for further nuclear policy, N. Kan expressed his intention to first of all conduct a thorough analysis of the current accident, the purpose of which is to search for opportunities to improve the level of nuclear energy safety. At the same time, active work will be carried out on the development and use of clean energy.

Japan has advanced earthquake-resistant construction technologies. The use of these and other technologies in various fields allows us to be prepared for major earthquakes on a daily basis. If Japan didn't have such technology, the damage would be much greater. However, the scale of the current earthquake and especially the subsequent tsunami exceeded all expectations, becoming the largest in the entire history of observations. The Japanese have learned many lessons from this disaster, which will continue to be used in the course of building society. We will do our best to demonstrate an advanced social system to the whole world through the eastern part of Japan. It is assumed that innovation will play a big role in this. The reconstruction process will be a long one, but it will undoubtedly be implemented in ways that will further strengthen Japanese-Russian cooperation.

In conclusion, I would like to express my personal and sincere gratitude to the many Russian citizens who have helped us with the current disaster.

1 White Paper on Science and Technology, 2009. Towards Japan's Own Innovative Science and Technology across the Threshold of Global Transition. Tokyo, p. 16 - 1288376.htm.

Readers interested in science and technology in general in Japan can find background information from previous issues of the White Paper on Science and Technology at -

2 According to the calculations of TERSO (in Japanese) -

3 23.html

4 (Japanese and English)





9 OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2009 Results -,3746,en_32252351_32235731_46567613_1_1_1_1, 00.html




13 Science and Technology Basic Law -

Brochure about the Council for Science and Technology Policy FY 2008 -

14 Law on Strengthening the R & D Potential (in English) -

15 Основное содержание -

16 Among important legislative acts concerning interaction between industry and academia: Act on the Promotion of Technology Transfer from Universities to Private Business Operators, 1998; Industrial Technology Enhancement Act, 2000 -


18 Main content of the Japan-Russia summit during the APEC Summit in Yokohama in November 2010 (in Russian) - - 1.html On the 10th meeting of the Japan-Russia Commission for Scientific and Technical Cooperation, held in March 2010 (in Japanese) - On the meeting of the Japan-Russia Economic Advisory Council on modernization of the Russian economy in November 2010. (in English) -

19 On the Japan-Russia Joint Commission on Energy Conservation and New Types of Energy (in Japanese) - - 3. pdf

20 On the agreement reached in January 2011 between the Japanese Resources and Energy Agency and Gazprom on issues, including conducting a feasibility study for the construction of an LNG plant in the vicinity of Vladivostok (in Japanese) -

21 On the Japanese-Russian agreement on the installation of cogeneration equipment in the Far East (November 2010) -


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