During the Meiji Era (1868-1912), as part of its modernization process Japan imported an enormous range of technological and business ideas and processes from Europe and America. This strategy was an essential element in the country's modernization process, providing the basic techniques and systems required when converting the economy to the demands of industrial capitalism. In the traumatic post-1945 Era, Japanese leaders pursued a similar strategy, helping the economy to effect a speedy recovery from the ravages of war. While the strategy would appear to have worked, however, enormous difficulties would have been experienced when applying the different technical and managerial concepts. How these difficulties were
conquered, or the extent to which experience met with failure, will be the principal concern of this international conference.
The conference will have the following characteristics:
Scholars interested in contributing to a conference of this kind should contact the organizers by 30 September 2001. We would like to receive a brief CV of the author, a proposed paper title and an abstract of up to 1,000 words describing how the paper would contribute to the conference.
- In the past, the theme of business and technology transfer has been the preserve of scholars in the liberal arts and social sciences. However, given the nature of this transfer process, to understand them fully one requires some engineering knowledge. This conference will consequently bring together on the one hand liberal arts and social science scholars, as well as members of the "Technology and Society Division" who study mechanical engineering. This will serve to help each group enhance their understanding of other interests.
- It is also equally important to study both the export and import aspects of business and technology transfer, emphasising the linguistic, technical and cultural barriers associated with this process.
- It is vital to spread the net as widely as possible, including as many cases as possible from different chronological, economic and cultural perspectives. This will serve to broaden our understanding of how home and host countries dealt with the challenges associated with business and technology transfer.
- In convening a conference of this type, it will then be possible to apply the lessons to a policy context. For example, today Japan appears to be struggling to cope with the transfer of IT Technology, exacerbating its prolonged depression. Having little core national resources in this area, Japan also has to participate in a world that will be based on high technology in the future. We can expect to gain useful insights into the future evolution of Japan, both short-term and long-term, through investigating the history of the business and technology transfer.