General View and Proposal

Publication List of this Subject

The book, The Japanese Experience in Technology: From Transfer to Self-Reliance, summarizes the entire Japanese Experience project and is written solely from the viewpoint of the co-ordinator of the project, Takeshi Hayashi. According to Hayashi, “The ‘Japanese experience’ project was an attempt to analyse the process by which modern Japan passed from dependence on foreign technology to technological self-reliance as an example of a national experience with the development problem.” He hopes that the outcome of the project will serve as a basis for further discussion with specialists throughout the world who are engaged with the problems of economic development and technological self-reliance.

Hayashi points out that the Japanese experience has shown that, if technology transfers are eventually to lead to technological self-reliance in a given nation, the nation concerned must create its own way of integrating five elements of technology (the 5 Ms) and its own corps of native engineers. He argues that there are five stages in the process of technological development and he suggests that his five-stage model helps us to identify the technological level of any particular industry in a given country, thus providing a basis for international comparison of technology as well as for an exchange of views with people from various technological backgrounds.

The “5 Ms” are defined as follows: (1) Raw “materials” and resources (including energy), (2) “machines” and equipment, (3) “manpower” (engineers and skilled workers), (4) “management” (technology management and management technology), and (5) “markets” for technology and its products.

He defines the five stages of technology development as: (1) acquisition of operational techniques (operation), (2) maintenance of new machines and equipment (maintenance), (3) repairs and minor modifications of foreign technologies and equipment, both in the system and in the course of operations (repairs and modifications), (4) designing and planning (original design and creation of a system), and (5) domestic manufacturing (achievement of self-reliance in technology).

The main body of Hayashi’s book consists of attempts to apply his theoretical framework to the findings of each individual study group within the project. By way of conclusion, in the last chapter of his book he offers a comprehensive proposal embracing five points, and hopes that this proposal will serve as a basis for further discussion concerning solutions of the problem of technology and development. The proposal encompasses such subjects as the role of the state, national consensus and basic human rights, formation of a national technology network, formation of native engineers, and public management of technology.