R&D in Japan, interview for Chemical and Engineering News

Unleashing R&D in Japan

Contributed to an article “Unleashing R&D in Japan” by Jean-François Tremblay for the Chemical & Engineering News (Volume 80, Number 49, pp 13-15, December 9, 2002)

Excellent science in Japan, for example Shuji Nakamura’s GaN LEDs and Lasers

Fasol mentions that there is excellent science in Japan, for example Shuji Nakamura’s invention and development of blue and white GaN based LEDs and Lasers (see: Nakamura and Fasol: the Blue Laser Diode).

Transition from “old Japan” to “new Japan” needed

Fasol also mentions the necessary transition from “old Japan” to “new Japan”. “Old Japan” is run by a tightly knit group of older men, without space for women or foreigners. Shuji Nakamura escaped this “Old Japan” for Santa Barbara in California.

Japan needs to transition as soon as possible from an “old Japanese men” controlled society, to a Japan that embraces diversity, engaging the power of women and people with different backgrounds and ideas, not just inbreeding by old men from the same schools of thought.

With the right know-how, foreign companies can take advantage of Japan’s excellent human resources

Fasol also mentions that Japan has excellent human resources, and foreign companies can today take advantage of opportunities in Japan, which did not exist, or were unaccessible for foreign companies 50 years ago.

Japan needs to encourage spin-out companies from Universities and research labs

When Fasol was Faculty at Tokyo University, Faculty essentially did not register almost any inventions for patents, and there were essentially no companies started at Japan’s No. 1 Elite University. To stimulate innovation and growth is it necessary to change the mind-set at Japan’s elite Universities, encourage commercialization of inventions through spin-out companies.

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