NRI Papers
No.62   March 1, 2003
  Competitiveness in High-Tech Fields and Nanotechnology  
Naoki IKEZAWA
      During the so-called "lost decade" of the 1990s, Japan's competitiveness sharply declined in such representative high-tech areas as semiconductors and liquid crystal applications, accelerating a hollowing-out of core technologies. Despite various measures taken in recent years to remedy this situation, there is still a long ways to go before we will see any fruitful results in terms of industrial competitiveness. Accordingly, the realization of a new paradigm towards the acquisition of competitiveness is required among both companies and the government. This means the establishment of new business models in the case of companies, and a thorough overhaul of the vertically divided administrative structure in the case of the government.
    One of the touchstones in dealing with these issues is the case involving nanotechnology. As a follow-up to the December 2001 edition of NRI Papers entitled "Nanotechnology: Encounters of Atoms, Bits and Genomes," this essay takes a closer look at the business opportunities that nanotechnology would create, and explores how progress in nanotechnology would contribute to the current measures aimed at halting the hollowing-out process and strengthening Japan's competitiveness in these vital areas.
Contents
I Declining Competitiveness in the 1990s
1 Shift Towards the Basics Began in the 1980s
2 Changing Competitiveness in the High-Tech Field
3 Innovation Not Leading to Value Creation
II Touchstone of Competitiveness: Nanotechnology
1 Nanotechnology and Business Opportunities
2 Responding to the Hollowing-Out of Core Competencies Through Nanotechnology
3 Nanotechnology as Competitiveness
4 A Paradigm Change and Nanotechnology
5 Nanotechnology as a Touchstone

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