How is education a contribution to growth

New strategy for economic growth

• In June 2010 the Japanese government adopted the “New Strategy for Economic Growth” (Link to the Japanese Foreign Ministry).

• The aim is to achieve growth based on “demand” with which an average GDP growth of 3% in nominal and 2% in real terms is to be achieved by 2020. Nominal GDP of 473 trillion. Yen (EUR 3.9 trillion) in 2009 is expected to reach 650 trillion by 2020. Yen (5.4 trillion euros). In the medium term, the unemployment rate will be reduced to 3%.

• To achieve these targets, Japan's strengths in areas such as the environment, energy and health (medical care and nursing) are used. Together with the development of new areas such as tourism and vitalization of the regions, measures in the areas of science and technology, employment and human resources as well as children are implemented, which act as pillars of economic growth.


(Environment and energy)
• The aim is to reach over 50 trillion by 2020. Yen (around 417 billion euros) to invest in new markets in the energy sector, to create 1.4 million new jobs in the environmental sector and to generate more than 1.3 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide through the use of technologies from the private sector of the total amount of emissions from Japan).

  • The most important measures to achieve these goals are:
    1. Expansion of renewable energies, among other things by improving the mechanisms for purchasing electricity at fixed prices.
    2. Achievement of "zero emissions" in residential and office construction, e.g. through ecological residential construction and increased use of heat pumps.
    3. Bringing forward the development of revolutionary technologies such as energy cells, next generation cars and increasing the efficiency of thermal power stations.
    4. Mainly investments in projects for the realization of a "low-carbon society" by means of comprehensive packages of measures including deregulations and ecological restructuring of the tax system.

(Health "Medical care and nursing")
• Build industries and jobs that meet medical, nursing and health demands. Targets are a 45 trillion new market. Yen (375 billion euros) and new jobs for around 2.8 million people.

  • The most important measures to achieve these goals are:
    1. Shaping a growth industry in medical care, nursing and health.
    2. Innovative medicinal products from Japan as well as expansion of research and development for technologies in the field of medical care and nursing.
    3. Promotion of the expansion of industries in the field of medical care, nursing and health abroad, e.g. to Asia.
    4. Expansion of the offer for barrier-free living.
    5. Strengthening the foundations for services in the field of medical care and nursing.

(Engagement in Asia)
• By 2020 a free trade area (FTAAP) will be created in APEC. This will double the flow of people, goods and money compared to today. Income within Asia will also be doubled. The high growth in Asia and the increasing demand will also have an impact on domestic demand in Japan.

  • The following measures are planned to achieve these goals:
    1. As the host of the APEC Summit 2010, Japan is actively promoting the liberalization of trade and investment and is creating a "roadmap" for the FTAAP.
    2. Support for the expansion of infrastructure by the state and private sector, for example with rail connections, water or energy, as well as the development of cities that are in harmony with the environment.
    3. Among other things, expansion of Tokyo-Haneda Airport into an international 24-hour hub and promotion of the open sky concept.

(Science and technology)
• By 2020, Japan will be the world leader in green innovation and life innovation. The aim is also to increase the number of universities that are world leaders in their own fields, to guarantee a job for all doctoral students in natural sciences and technical subjects, and to invest more in research and development through joint efforts by the state and the private sector than 4% of GDP.

• Japan has numerous excellent technologies that are world leaders: For example, the iPS cells from Prof. Yamanaka from Kyoto University, industrial robot technology or next-generation robot technologies for use in the home, for care or as a mobility aid for People come into play. Further examples are the carbon nanotubes in the field of nanotechnology, superconductors or photocatalysts. Furthermore satellites for observing global warming or for exploring the moon.

• So far, 12 Japanese researchers have received awards in the three Nobel Prize categories of physics, chemistry and medicine. The four Japanese award winners in 2008 clearly demonstrate the excellent level of Japanese basic research.

• The strategic alignment of science and technology to key areas will be further promoted. In addition to basic research, investments are being made to focus on areas that are to be funded (life science, information technology, the environment and nanotechnology). Transport systems for space, measurement and research systems for oceans and earth, technology for the fast breeder, next-generation supercomputers and XFEL (X-ray Free Electron Laser) have all been classified as state-run technologies.

• Japan invests 3.7% of its GDP in research and development. This is more than in other industrialized countries (Germany 2.5%, USA 2.7%, France 2.1%). Particularly noteworthy is the comparatively high share of private investments at around 30% (in other countries around 20%).


(Employment and human resources)
• By 2020 the number of young Freeter (Men between 15-34 years and unmarried women, with the exception of students who only work part-time or who aim to work part-time) will be halved. Also the number of NEETs (“Not in Education, Employment or Training”) is to be reduced. Further goals include promoting the employment of older and disabled people, promoting the use of paid vacation, raising minimum wages and reducing working hours.

• Japan's unemployment rate is low compared to other countries. This is due to the long-term employment relationships. The companies react flexibly to the economic environment and will also have room to absorb employment in the future.


• The birth rate is to rise continuously until 2020 (in 2008 it was 1.37%). The rapid decline in population should be stopped. This should be made possible for all people who wish to return to work after giving birth and raising children. The worldwide top level in the field of educational qualifications has already been reached.

  • The following measures are planned to achieve these goals:
    1. By redesigning the systems and regulations, including the amalgamation of kindergartens and day care, the participation of a wide range of project sponsors is to be achieved.
    2. Flexibility of the times and procedures for parental leave (including use of short-term work during the upbringing)
    3. Improving the quality of teaching staff, strengthening educational institutions in the regions, including people from the private sector.
    4. Further improve education in higher education.
    5. Creating a social environment that ensures the safety of children.

The present article is an excerpt from a presentation by the Japanese Ambassador, Dr. Takahiro Shinyo, in Wolfsburg, May 2010. You can also find further information on the new strategy for economic growth in Prime Minister Kan's government statement from June 2010 (link to the Japanese embassy - German).



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