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Crisis and innovation in Japan: a new future through techno-entrepreneurship?


  • Hugh Whittaker


This paper looks at the profound transitions Japan is currently experiencing, focusing on 'techno-entrepreneurship' and ideological currents of nationalism and internationalism. After a brief examination of Japan's financial crisis, it focuses on manufacturing, both in large firms - with a case study of electric-electronics giant Hitachi - and small firms. It then looks at policy attempts to strengthen the science and technology base, and reforms to the bureaucracy itself. While rejecting some of the more simplistic 'systemic failure' explanations of Japan's 'lost decade', it argues that past success made incremental reform problematic, and conversely that multiple transitions have complicated subsequent attempts at reform. A reversion to learning from abroad (notably the US) and openness to inward investment mark a modification of 'techno-nationalism', though not its disappearance.

Suggested Citation

  • Hugh Whittaker, 2001. "Crisis and innovation in Japan: a new future through techno-entrepreneurship?," Working Papers wp193, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbr:cbrwps:wp193
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    Cited by:

    1. Joost van Acht & Joop Stam & Roy Thurik & Ingrid Verheul, 2004. "Business Ownership and Unemployment in Japan," Papers on Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy 2004-09, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy Group.
    2. Annaleena Parhankangas & ├ůsa Lindholm-Dahlstrand, 2011. "Spin-offs to stock markets as a complementary form of entrepreneurship: Contrasting US, UK and Japanese experiences," Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(5-6), pages 307-335, March.

    More about this item


    Asian Crisis; Japanese political economy; transition; techno-entrepreneurship; science and technology;

    JEL classification:

    • O0 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - General
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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