Commercialization of Technology by Japanese Companies

T-NSIAD-91-32: Published: Apr 30, 1991. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 1991.

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GAO discussed the factors to which Japanese firms attributed their success in adapting new technologies to commercial applications. GAO noted that: (1) Japanese macroeconomic policies aided commercialization through a relatively low and stable cost of capital, and encouraged Japanese firms to adopt a longer planning horizon; (2) Japanese industry achieved international success through fierce horizontal competition, which forced its firms toward automation, higher technology, and new products; (3) Japanese firms were leaders in implementing management systems driven by the need to satisfy customers; (4) stable, long-term supplier-customer relationships among Japanese firms enabled businesses to move more quickly and in a more coordinated manner to bring emerging technologies to market; and (5) although Japanese industrial policy today is not as forceful as the policies in place 30 years ago, the government guides future technological development by sponsoring longer range, riskier research and development projects that are unattractive to industry.

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