II . Outcome of the Study Groups - Summary

論文一覧に戻る
本ページのPDF版を見る

3A. IRON AND STEEL

1. The origin and development of iron and steel technology -- Ken'ichi Iida
2. Japanese-run iron ore mines in prewar South-East Asia -- Bunji Nagura
3. Postwar development of iron and steel technology -- Ken'ichi Iida
4. Technology transfer from Japan to Brazil: the case of USIMINAS -- Centro Brasileiro de Analise e Planejamento (CEBRAP)

Iida's first paper outlines the long history of development of the iron and steel industry in Japan up to the Second World War. First, it compares the general history of Japanese iron and steel technology with that of Western countries, concluding that the two coincided basically in terms of the sequence of development. Then it identifies the distinctive feature of the Japanese case by noting that even before Meiji Japanese technology produced steel of a quality unrivalled elsewhere in the world (for instance, that of Japanese sword blades). It also points out that such technology was that of small-scale handicraft industry and that it was not capable of meeting the huge demand brought about by the industrial revolution.

Both the Kamaishi Iron Works, construction of which was completed in 1880, and the Yawata Steel Works, completed in 1901, were built by the government under the direction of Western engineers, and both failed miserably at the beginning because of blind acceptance of planning and design done by foreigners who were unfamiliar with the quality and available quantities of Japanese iron ore and coke and other pertinent conditions. After the foreign engineers packed up and went home, however, a Japanese metallurgist, Kageyoshi Noro tried to identify the trouble spots and revised them on a trial-and-error basis using considerable ingenuity until finally both iron and steel production at the works were put on a sound and viable footing.

Thanks to state assistance and improvement of market conditions, rapid progress was made in Japanese metallurgical and metal materials science, and by 1917 Japan developed a strong magnet steel known as "KS magnet steel" which was of the highest quality in the world at that time and went on to develop a whole series of new types of magnet steel. Between the world wars Japanese iron and steel production technology made further advances in this and other research and development, resulting in the construction of gigantic blast furnaces and installation of other new production facilities. Such progress paved the way for the rapid strides forward that were made after the war.

Nagura's paper, which is a historical study of procurement of raw materials for iron and steel production, a research subject that has been well-night neglected up to now, is complementary to Iida's.

Although Japan was behind Western countries in steel-manufacturing technology, it was ahead of countries such as China and Malaysia from which it imported iron ore. A case study (covering the period 1920-1935) of the discovery and development of iron ore deposits in Malaysia by the Ishihara Industrial Co., Ltd., forms the core of Nagura's paper. That undertaking was very successful, partly because of government promotion but more importantly because of employment of outstanding mining and transportation technology and particularly successful in contriving efficient, low-cost means of getting the ore to a suitable seaport. In this connection, attention is drawn to the way in which technology that took very good advantage of local topography was developed.

lida's second paper and the CEBRAP (Centro Brasileiro de Analise e Planejamento) paper represent a part of the findings of what we call a "triangle project."

Iida outlines transfer and improvement of technology that made possible the rapid development of the Japanese iron and steel industry in the postwar period. While it is true that the Japanese iron and steel industry introduced the newest and most advanced principles of iron and steel production from abroad in an ongoing fashion after the war, one must also bear in mind that (1) Japan had already attained a high level of technology in this field before the war, and the industry was able to produce a well-thought-out and very appropriate blueprint for reconstruction immediately after the war, (2) the industry was capable of good judgement in selecting what technology to import, and (3) it never failed to make some kind of improvement of its own in connection with such technology transfer, such improvements subsequently leading to development of the world-famous OG system (basic oxygen furnace waste gas cooling and clearing system) and other new techniques.

Japan has the largest steelworks in the world, but that does not mean that steelworks must be large in all countries. For instance, small Malaysian steel mills based on technology imported from Japan are operating successfully, thanks to the consideration that was given to local conditions.

The CEBRAP paper, a case study of Brazil's USIMINAS (Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais S . A.) steelworks, which were established in 1956 with participation of Japanese capital on the basis of import of Japanese technology analyses the actual conditions of technology transfer and transformation from a broad perspective. This particular case is considered to have been a success, the reasons for such success being (1) the existence in advance of adequate external conditions in terms of resources and markets as required by large-scale integrated iron and steel works, (2) the fact that Brazil already had a long history of modern iron and steel production technology, albeit on a small scale, as well as a considerable pool of related skills, and, of course, (3) active government support.

Not only was the technology transfer a success, but the management of this undertaking has also fared well even since the administrative reins were handed over entirely to the Brazilians in 1966. The reasons that are cited for such success are (1) the fact that the technology transfer was accomplished on the basis of thorough man-to-man training, (2) the transfer as well of some Japanese management techniques, although, of course, in a form suitable to local conditions, and (3) the inclusion of research and development methods and techniques in the technology transfer.

This particular case is considered to be worthy of serving as a point of reference for technology transfer in general.