Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Japan's Key To The Future Of Industry

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has some concerns. How does Japanese industry get out of the "severely deadlocked" position that has it lagging behind power players and moody market swings? Is it even possible for the country to be globally competitive anymore? Does Japan have a chance to rebound after years of stagnation and the continued aftershocks of the world economic crisis?

In May METI unveiled the "Industrial Structure Vision 2010" as a fresh address to the concerns. The aim is to rev Japan's revenues, drive employment and run circles around the globe with industry. The roadmap first calls for four shifts in the public and private sectors to spur growth: build a new industrial structure, replace stagnant business models, forgo that globalization and domestic employment are mutually exclusive, and realign the role of government.

Sounds simple enough. Sustainable industrial structures practically grow on trees! All sass aside, when digging for more detail, one of the most condensed PDF powerpoints ever contained a diamond of an idea in the packed data and dizzying mix of problems, solutions, and fonts. The four herculean shifts mentioned above would incorporate 5 life-enriching, globally expandable sectors:

● infrastructure-related/system export (nuclear energy, water, rail, etc.)
● environment and energy problem-solving industry (smart grid, next-generation vehicles, etc.)
● medical and nursing, health and childcare services
● cultural industries including fashion, content, food, tourism
● frontier fields like robotics, space, etc.

How it all fits together takes an expert explanation. Luckily, METI director Tadao Yanase is at Japan Society July 20 to speak at the roundtable discussion Industrial Structure Vision: The Way Forward for Japanese Industry, presided by the Carlyle Group's Jonathan Colby.


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