Global Experience in Policy and Program Development
Edited by Sarfraz A. Mian
Chapter 2: New Directions in Japan’s Regional Innovation and Entrepreneurship Policy: An Emerging Concept of Clusters as Seen in the TAMA Project
2. New directions in Japan’s regional innovation and entrepreneurship policy: an emerging concept of clusters as seen in the TAMA project* Toshihiro Kodama INTRODUCTION In order to revitalize the economy, which had stagnated seriously since the early 1990s, the economic and industrial policies in Japan started to change drastically from around 1995 in several respects. First, new business creation and new industry creation have become major policy goals, and entrepreneurship and innovation have become the keywords. Second, in the science and technology (S&T) policy field, utilization of scientific knowledge, particularly research results of universities, in the economy, industry and business, has increasingly become an important policy target. Third, regional industrial policies changed from policies that had promoted relocation of industries from large metropolitan areas to rural areas to policies to revitalize industries and develop new industries not only in the rural but also in the large metropolitan areas. Against the background of these major policy changes, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (hereinafter METI) and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (hereinafter MEXT) launched the ‘Industrial Cluster Plan’ or the ‘industrial cluster policy’, as its more generalized term, in 2001 and the related ‘Knowledge Cluster Initiative’ in 2002. In recent years, revitalization of regions by innovation as well as creation of innovation in the regions has become a major policy topic and the cluster policies are at the center of policies to promote regional innovation (Members of the Council for Science and Technology Policy, 2007;...
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