This third volume in the Japan Decides series remains the premier venue for scholarly research on Japanese elections. Spotlighting the 2017 general election, the contributors discuss the election results, party politics, coalition politics with Komeito, the cabinet, constitutional revision, new opposition parties, and Abenomics. Additionally, the volume looks at campaigning, public opinion, media, gender issues and representation, North Korea and security issues, inequality, immigration and cabinet scandals.
Highly readable yet deeply researched, this book serves as an essential guide to the many ways in which Japan has risen to become one of the world's most creative and innovative societies.
• Challenges conventional views of Japan as mired in two unproductive "lost decades" by documenting the myriad ways in which the nation has embraced creativity and innovation
• Describes the ways in which Japan has transformed our lives and explains the guiding principles of one of the world's least understood, most vibrantly creative societies
Given that much of the global leadership in value creation over the past couple of decades has been driven by the Silicon Valley model – not only a geographic region but a distinct ecosystem of complementary characteristics – the basic question this paper asks is how far Japan’s Abenomics reforms are pushing Japan towards being able to compete in an era dominated by Silicon Valley firms.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly becoming one of the underlying drivers of the next wave of industrial transformations. There is every reason to believe that we are on the cusp of a sea change in how human activities and decision-making are transformed by abundant computing power. This research note will provide the basis for understanding the conceptual building blocks and paradigmatic examples of how the development of AI is accelerating, and how its deployment will be transformative.
Kenji Kushida's new book chapter, "Blockchain, a Silicon Valley Vantage on its Potential and Challenges" was published in new book, "The Future of Blockchain: How it will impact finance, industry, and society edited by Yuri Okina, Noriyuki Yanagawa, and Naoyuki Iwashita.
Through the 1980s, Japan was significant in global competition largely by shaping global technological trajectories, transforming major global industries, and contributing to fundamental innovations in industrial production processes, creating enough wealth along the way to propel Japan to the world’s second largest economy. After the economic bubble burst in the early 1990s, however, other places such as Silicon Valley in the United States, moved to the forefront of transforming technology, industries, and production, creating vast wealth along the way.
The digital transition of the world economy is now entering a phase of broad and deep societal impact. While there is one overall transition, there are many different sectoral transformations, from health and legal services to tax reports and taxi rides, as well as a rising number of transversal trends and policy issues, from widespread precarious employment and privacy concerns to market monopoly and cybercrime. This Research Handbook offers a rich and interdisciplinary synthesis of some of the recent research on the digital transformations currently under way.
This paper asks the following: what does Japan's startup ecosystem look like now, how did it develop, and where it is headed? These are critical questions because high-growth startup firms are now recognized as potential drivers or growth, innovation, and productivity gains for advanced industrialized countries (Gornall and Strebulaev, 2015; Wiens and Jackson, 2015).
The history of human civilization has been about managing information, from hunting and gathering through contemporary times. In modern societies, information flows are central to how individuals and societies interact with governments, economies, and other countries. Despite this centrality of information, information governance—how information flows are managed—has not been a central concern of scholarship. We argue that it should be, especially now that digitization has dramatically altered the amount of information generated, how it can be transmitted, and how it can be used.
Chapter 4 of this book "Services with Everything: The ICT-Enabled Digital Transformation of Services" was written by John Zysman, Stuart Feldman, Kenji E. Kushida, Jonathan Murray, and Niels Christian Nielsen. The book is edited by Dan Breznitz and John Zysman.
This report provides an overview of the Silicon Valley ecosystem. It draws upon existing scholarship and original insights to derive a picture that is only partially well-known in Japan. Characteristics such as the critical role of large firms for the startup firm ecosystem, the role of Japanese firms in creating the US firms’ “open innovation” paradigm, and the severe lack of local government coordination in providing public transportation creating opportunities for disruptive startups such as Uber, are all aspects of Silicon Valley that are not well-known in Japan.
Innovation is essential for the growth of a matured economy like Japan. This report examines the institutional foundations of innovation-based economic growth and explores the role of Japanese government in encouraging innovation by Japanese companies and entrepreneurs. We start by summarizing eleven elements that characterize the ecosystem of Silicon Valley, which is often considered to be the best example of innovation-based economy. We then discuss how those elements fit with six institutional foundations that support the innovation-based economic growth.
Cloud computing is a revolution in computing architecture, transforming not only the “where” (location) of computing, but also the “how” (the manner in which software is produced and the tools available for the automation of business processes). Cloud computing emerged as we transitioned from an era in which underlying computing resources were both scarce and expensive to an era in which the same resources were cheap and abundant. There are many ways to implement cloud architectures, and most people are familiar with public cloud services such as Gmail or Facebook.
The global Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) industry has experienced a rapid, radical reorganization of industry leaders and business models—most recently in mobile. New players Apple and Google abruptly redefined the industry, bringing a wave of commoditization to carriers and equipment manufacturers. Technologies, corporate strategies, and industry structures are usually the first places to look when explaining these industry disruptions, but this paper argues that it was actually a set of political bargains during initial phases of telecommunications liberalization, which differed across countries, that set the trajectories of development in motion. This paper shows how different sets of winners and losers of domestic and regional commoditization battles emerged in various ICT industries around the world. Carriers won in Japan, equipment manufacturers in Europe, and eventually, computer services industry actors rather than communications firms emerged as winners in the United States. These differences in industry winner outcomes was shaped by the relative political strength of incumbent communications monopolies and their will to remain industry leaders, given the political system and political dynamics they faced during initial liberalization. The U.S. computer services industry, which developed independently of its telecommunications sector due to antitrust and government policy, eventually commoditized all others, both domestically and abroad. This paper contends that a political economy approach, tracing how politics and regulatory processes shaped industry structures, allows for a better understanding of the underlying path dependent processes that shape rapidly changing global technological and industry outcomes, with implications beyond ICT.
This paper contributes to the discussion of how Public Private Interplay (PPI) can be used to foster Next Generation Access (NGA) buildouts in Europe by introducing the experience of Japan. Japan, which succeeded in both promoting nationwide network buildouts and fostering competitive dynamics that led to the world's fastest and cheapest broadband services and deploying them nationwide. The process entailed deregulation, which unleashed new entrepreneurial private actors, and re-regulation that protected them from incumbent carriers.
Japan’s first decade of the twenty-first century was both disappointing and bewildering, producing wildly contrasting evaluations. Many have come to call this period the “second lost decade,” characterized by policy paralysis and overall lackluster economic growth.
For those studying Japan more closely, however, the same decades reveal nothing short of a broad transformation in numerous core tenets of Japan’s postwar political economy. How can we best capture this transformation?
The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) came to power in 2009 with a commanding majority, ending fifty years of almost uninterrupted Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) rule. Then, in 2012, just over three years later, the DPJ lost power in an equally stunning landslide loss to the LDP. This volume examines the DPJ’s remarkable ascendance, its policies once in power, and its dramatic fall.
In our current era, the advent of digital technologies and accelerating globalization is driving ever-faster commoditization of firms and products. With rapidly improving Information and Communications Technology (ICT) tools, manufacturing is decomposed with finer granularity, and corporate functions can be outsourced and offshored more than ever before. Services can be unbundled into activities that can be taken apart, reconfigured, and transformed with the application of algorithms. Overall, firms are experiencing accelerating shifts in the sweet-spot for markets and business models in
We consider the vulnerability of nuclear power plants to a disaster like the one that occurred at Fukushima Daiichi. Examination of Japanese nuclear plants affected by the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011 shows that three variables were crucial at the early stages of the crisis: plant elevation, sea wall elevation, and location and status of backup generators. Higher elevations for these variables, or waterproof protection of backup generators, could have mitigated or prevented the disaster.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster was a critical juncture in the world’s relationship with nuclear energy, as well as Japan’s postwar political economy, society, and national psyche. The DPJ, and particularly Prime Minister Kan, were later widely criticized for mismanaging the disaster, contributing to the party’s loss of power. This paper closely examines the crisis as it unfolded, assessing the degree to which the government’s chaotic response can be attributed to the DPJ’s political leadership.
A fundamental transformation of services is underway, driven by developments in information and communications technology (ICT) tools, the uses to which they are being put, and the networks on which they run. Services were once considered a sinkhole of the economy, immune to significant technological or organizational productivity increases. Now, they are widely recognized as a source of productivity growth and dynamism in the economy that is changing the structure of employment, the division of labor, and the character of work and its location.
This paper examines how diversely organized capitalist societies evolve by analyzing the transformation of Japan’s financial system since the 1990s. The banking, securities and insurance, as well as the postal financial institutions changed significantly, but are hardly converging to Anglo-American or ‘liberal market’ models. The authors contend that Japan’s new financial system is best characterized as syncretic, with new, traditional and hybrid forms of practices, organizations and norms coexisting.
This report provides one of the first coherent, readable narratives of the Fukushima nuclear disaster—what happened in the first few days. It is based on new sources available in Japanese and National Diet testimonies, and is an objective overview of events as they unfolded, rather than an ideologically positioned effort of advocacy. The report goes on to analyze the institutional and governance aspects of Japan’s nuclear oversight, highlighting the fundamental problems that surfaced during the disaster that stem from deeper structural issues.