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Japan Leads in Asian Innovation

Japan Leads in Asian Innovation


Recent news from The Asian Development Bank on how policymakers can encourage innovation in Asian markets shows that Japan is the most efficient and creative Asian country.  Using criteria such as the number of universities across a nation, rate of urbanization, and the amount spent on research and development; each country was ranked and results were presented in ‘The Economist’, a popular syndicated magazine.


Often described as quirky, the culture of Japan is nevertheless one that encourages creativity and innovation, but this has only been a recent development. In the past, complaints about Japan’s rigorous policies and lack of risk-taking were frustrations for would be innovators.  These traits were deeply rooted in the culture of Japan, a culture that has recently become increasingly liberal compared to its staunchly traditional past.  It’s also a culture that people in other countries are becoming more interested in.  Japanese food is now on the World Heritage List while animation, comics, cartoon characters, and games continue to soar in popularity.  The trend between culture and technology will continue.  As customer’s age and markets become more advanced, consumers will expect a products reliability, design, and performance to improve.


Many instances of innovation in Japan are overlooked based on the way Japanese companies communicate about themselves and their products.  In recent years these companies and the government have taken steps to address the way they communicate, especially about innovations.  Many new products, advances, and technologies are taken for granted by Japan but highly lauded in other nations.  Take, for example, Japan’s package delivery system.  The package delivery system is the finest in the world and with guaranteed next-day delivery of absolutely any parcel (frozen, cooled, or at normal temperate), and many nations struggle with how to replicate it.  Another amazing innovation that puts Japan at the top of the pack is their world-renowned bullet train.  For around $30, you can travel virtually anywhere in Japan and have your luggage delivered to your destination via the package delivery system – saving time and money that would’ve been spent on airline fees, in the past.


If Japan hopes to make strides when promoting their innovations, their focus should be on technologies that solve everyday problems.  One of the biggest challenges faced by Japan is its rapidly aging population.  If officials hope to raise the birth rate, changes and innovations must be made to improve day care facilities.  Improving a work-life balance would make it easier for women to enter and stay in the work place.  Secondly, these innovations should be tailored to the needs of consumers instead of producing innovations from the viewpoint of the developer’s, which rarely focus on customers wants and needs.  Green technology should also be embraced and traditional Japanese values have been used to make large positive impacts on the environment.  Advances in reducing pollution and sustainable energy by Japanese innovators would be a persuasive means in the advancement of green innovations through the world.


As the Asian Century continues, we’ll see Japan continue to be a top leader in Asia for groundbreaking and life-saving innovations.  By continuing to improve the way they communicate about innovations, Japan will become properly recognized as the leaders they are.