Title: Japan's technology policy – a case study of the R&D of the Fifth Generation computer systems

Authors: Yoshiaki Nakamura, Minoru Shibuya

Addresses: Senior Research Fellow, Research Institute of International Trade and Industry, MITI, 1-3-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100, Japan. ' Research Fellow, Research Institute of International Trade and Industry, MITI, Japan

Abstract: This paper examines the successes and failures of the Fifth Generation Computer Project (FGCP), which was completed in March 1995, in order to discern lessons for future technology policy. While much criticism has been aimed at the FGCP for failing to produce commercial results, the enhancement of Japan|s industrial competitiveness was never the goal of the project. Rather, the primary objective was to carry out basic research with government funding to benefit the international community. Here we attempt an evaluation of the FGCP|s success with respect to this primary objective by considering three factors: 1. its impact on academic research 2. international spillovers created by the project 3. its ability to overcome externalities associated with research in high technology fields. We conclude that the FGCP fulfilled its primary objective. Finally we note that, unlike most government-funded projects, which tend to wither once funding is cut off, the FGCP has succeeded in weaning the research projects it spawned away from government funding.

Keywords: Fifth Generation Computer Project; Joint R&D; Research Consortium; technology policy; technology management; Japan; research and development; fifth generation computing; academic research; international spillovers.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.1996.025502

International Journal of Technology Management, 1996 Vol.12 No.5/6, pp.509 - 533

Published online: 22 May 2009 *

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