Section 4. Development of Industrial and Scientific Technology and International Cooperation


1. Development of Industrial and Scientific Technology and International Relations


(1) Position of Japan

Since the Meiji Era, Japan has introduced Western technology while making active research and development efforts on its own. The country is now in a position to lead the world in the progress and development of science and technology as one of the leading countries in this area. With expectations and requests for cooperation rapidly growing from other countries, Japan faces an important diplomatic task of how to respond to them. Specifically, it is important to step up information exchanges among research institutes, increase personnel exchanges (particularly, acceptance of foreign researchers by research institutes in Japan), and promote joint research projects. All of this requires large financial backing. In 1988, Japan initiated three new plans to invite researchers from abroad, and earned a high international reputation for them. Because it is desirable to develop and promote research organs and programs of a world standard, Japan is expected to further improve its research system, research environment, and the living environment for researchers. It is also necessary to take part in sharing an international role in building research facilities that require a huge capital investment.

Eighty percent of Japan's research and development expenditure is accounted for by private research institutes, compared with 50 percent for the United States, and 40 percent for West Germany. Therefore, the expectations of other countries placed on Japan are directed rather to private research institutes in Japan. It is now a matter of great importance to increase the research budgets of government organs and thus expand basic research.


(2) Development of Industry, Science and Technology versus Diplomacy

At a time when science and technology constitute important elements of the national power of major advanced countries, it is indispensable for Japan to fully take into account international implications in promoting, its science and technology policy, and to conduct active diplomacy on the basis of comprehensive and accurate evaluation of the effects that may be produced by science and technology. Competition is as important as cooperation for the development of science and technology in the world. However, the so-called techno-nationalism - exessive restrictions on transfer of advanced technology out of strong competition and reinforcement of the protection of intellectual property rights beyond the necessary level - should be restrained.

Given the fact that the boundary between military and civil technologies has become less distinct, a clean direction should be developed on export restrictions on what has been regarded as civil technology in connection with cooperation with the Eastern bloc in the field of science and technology. This is important from the standpoint of national security.


2. International Cooperation in Science and Technology


(1) Science and Technology in General

The Japan-U.S. Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology was signed in June 1988 after half a year of negotiations, drawning much attention from industry and the academic world. Another agreement on cooperation in science and technology was concluded with Italy in October, and an agreement was reached on 57 projects at the first Joint Committee Meeting held in Tokyo in March 1989. A joint study on future cooperation in science between Japan and Canada was conducted by scientists of both countries (the Japanese side headed by Michio Okamoto, member of the Council for Science and Technology, and the Canadian side headed by Kenny Wallace, chairman of the Canadian Academy of Science), and a report was presented to the Prime Ministers of both countries in July 1988.

The Japan-EC Agreement on Cooperation in Nuclear Fusion, the first agreement on science and technology between Japan and the EC, was signed in February 1989.


(2) Multinational Cooperation in Science and Technology

(a) Conference on Life Sciences and Mankind

The 6th meeting of the Conference on Life Sciences and Mankind, which was proposed by then Prime Minister Nakasone in 1983 , was held in Brussels in May 1989, where environmental ethics was discussed reflecting the world's growing interest in the environmental problem.

(b) Human Frontier Science Program

The Human Frontier Science Program is a project designed to bring to light functions of the human body (brain learning, memory and other functions), and was proposed by Japan at the Venice Summit. In response to the economic declaration of the Toronto Summit of 1988, Japan presented a concrete proposal for the implementation of the project, and a consensus was reached on its framework among the summit countries and the EC at an intergovernmental meeting held in West Berlin in July 1989.

(c) Discussions at OECD

The OECD has been discussing science and technology problems mainly through its Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry. Recently, an awareness of the necessity of a comprehensive approach, instead of individual approaches, to science and technology problems for more accurate analysis of complex and diverse effects on the economy and society has taken root, and the Technology Economy Program (TEP) was implemented as a matter to be taken up by the OECD as a whole. As part of the program, a symposium with a theme of Toward Techno Globalism will be held in the spring of 1990 in Japan.

(d) Space

Japan, together with the United States National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and Canada had been taking part, in the preliminary designing of a manned space station program since May 1985. Talks on an inter-governmental agreement on cooperation in detailed design, development, operation, and utilization have been under way among the countries participating in the space station program (the United States, Japan, European countries, and Canada) since June 1986. As a result, a Space Station Cooperation Agreement was signed in Washington D.C. in September 1988. (The Agreement was approved at the 114th ordinary session of the Diet.) 

Regarding relations with European countries, the 14th Japan-ESA officials meeting was held in Tokyo in May 1989.

The 43rd U.N. General Assembly of 1988 approved the report for the 31st term (held in June) of the United Nations Committee on Peaceful Use of Outer Space, and adopted a resolution entitled "International Cooperation Concerning Peaceful Use of Outer Space."

(e) The Antarctic

The twenty Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties adopted the Convention on the Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resource Activities in Wellington, New Zealand on June 2, 1988, and was opened for signing for one year from November 25, 1988.


(3) Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy

(a) International Cooperation in Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy 

A nuclear power plant accident at Chernobyl in the Soviet Union in April 1986 led to reconfirmation of the importance of nuclear safety and the necessity of international cooperation for improving safety. In 1988, various kinds of operations (Note) related to the improvement of nuclear safety and measures against nuclear accidents were undertaken mainly by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD),

With a rising interest in the environmental problem around the world, nuclear power generation is winning attention because of its characteristic of not discharging carbon dioxide, particularly in connection with the problem of global warming. At the Board of Governers of the International Energy Agency (IEA) held in May 1989 and at the Paris Summit in July, it was stated that attention should be paid to nuclear energy for a role it may be able to play in the environmental problem.

(b) Improvement of International Environment Concerning Japan's Development and Use of Nuclear Power

As of May 1989, 37 nuclear power reactors are operating in Japan, with the total generating capacity of about 28-87 million kW, or the fourth largest in the world behind the United States, France and the Soviet Union.

It is extremely important for Japan, a country scarce in energy resources, to establish a self-supporting in nuclear fuel cycle to establish self-sufficiency in nuclear fuel and to ensure a steady supply of energy. From this standpoint, Japan has adopted a policy to recover reusable plutonium from spent fuel produced by nuclear power plants, and consigns plutonium recovery operation (reprocessing) to the United Kingdom and France. It is required that Japan must safely bring back the plutonium from these two countries and should pay great attention to the international transportation of plutonium from the standpoint of nuclear non-proliferation. The Japan-U.S. Nuclear Agreement, that went into effect in July 1988, stipulates provisions for international transportation of plutonium, and air transportation of plutonium under a specific guideline as subject to programmatic approval.

Furthermore, the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material which defines a framework for protecting nuclear material from potential dangers of unlawful taking and use, went into force in February 1987, with the ratification by 22 countries including the United States and the Soviet Union. Japan became a signatory of the Convention in November 1988.

(c) Cooperation with Developing Countries in the Field of Nuclear Energy

Japanese contributions to the IAEA's Technical Assistance and Cooperation Fund have been next only to those of the United States and the Soviet Union. Japan plays a leading role through technical and financial cooperation in such fields as radio isotope and radiation application, medical and biological application projects under the IAEA's Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology (RCA), in order to help developing countries address major challenges including industrial and medical problems. Moreover, Japan has been active in accepting trainees and dispatching experts for the application of radio isotope and radiation through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

It is important for Japan, an advanced country in the nuclear field, to promote cooperation with developing countries with a view to meeting their real needs while paying due attention to nuclear safety and nonproliferation.



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Note: Revision of the nuclear safety standards, improvement of the condition of the execution for the convention on notification and the convention on notification harmonizing the Vienna and Paris Conventions on civil liabilities for nuclear damage, etc.