Here's how Japan has become a leading technological power -- Mar 22
Rarely a week passes without hearing about a new type of robot created in Japan. Every other country of the world is wondering how Japan has managed to become a leading technological power.

The answer is simple, yet extremely complex. All technological advancements that Japan has made among time were a solution to the problems that the country and its population were facing. Japan was one of the first countries to understand the true power of technology and has embraced its benefits. Therefore, the country has started to invest in technological innovation early in time. That is how nowadays Japan is qualified as one of the most powerful tech giants all over the world.

Fast infrastructure

Perhaps the most well-known aspect of the technological innovation which can be found in Japan is its fast infrastructure. The first high-speed train, or so-called bullet train, was built in Japan. The line was built between two massive hubs, Tokyo and Osaka, and was inaugurated in 1964. The high-speed train has carried around 10 billion riders since its inauguration and has an incontestable record of safety as there have not been any fatal derailments or collisions. Moreover, the average delay of the high-speed train is 36 seconds. The so-called Shinkansen is not only an outstanding symbol of Japan’s technological innovation and efficiency, but it has also brought notable benefits to the economy of the country. As only 20 percent of the country’s land is habitable, the high-speed train was an amazing solution for workers to live in distant areas and easily commute to the metropolis such as Tokyo in just a few hours. Also, another benefit which Japan has received is the booming tourism. Tourists who often come to large cities are more likely to visit also relatively underdeveloped areas increasing the local economy in those places.

Workforce automation

In the last several years, robots have become a must-have solution to the chronic labor shortage. Japan’s overall population has started to decline rapidly which has created a problem in the labor market. Nowadays, robots which are able to perform jobs in almost every industry have become a must. Studies show that right now, 49 percent of the Japanese jobs are automatable. The job vacancies at its highest require Japan to either accept large numbers of immigrants or rely on automation. Therefore, Japan’s combination of artificial intelligence and robots is the answer to the rapidly shrinking labor force. Workforce automation has completely redefined human labor and work style in some services and industries. While some countries are worrying that automation can negatively impact the need for the human workforce and have tremendous consequences on the population and overall economy, for Japan it was a necessity well embraced. Workforce automation did not only help the country to cover the human workforce that was needed. But it has also helped the employees to work more productively and efficiently. For example, repetitive manufacturing tasks, as well as lifting heavy materials in the construction industry do no longer affect the employees with the help of a robotic arm. Moreover, business automation with robots and artificial intelligence triggers improved product quality and productivity which allows companies to stay ahead of their competition. Therefore, the association of Japan’s labor force with robotics has brought success and large gains in industrial productivity.

Automation boosts wages and economic growth

Although the process of Japan’s workforce automation has started as a solution to a problem, evidence shows that it has brought the country unexpected economic growth. The continued advance of robotics and artificial intelligence boost the economy of Japan. Although the shrinking labor force would be expected to lead to a substantial decline in labor shares, rising inequality, and unemployment, automation could boost wages and economic growth. By filling the labor gap, robotics and AI brings higher outputs and greater income by eliminating the need for replacement of the human workforce and through increased productivity.

Environmental problems solved with technological advancements

There is no doubt that nowadays, every country is dealing with heavy environmental problems. From global warming to extreme heavy pollution and extreme weather changes are all affecting countries from all over the world. However, Japan struggled with two major environmental problems for a long time which has influenced them to seek solutions for them with technology innovations. Heavy air pollution and extreme meteorological phenomena such as earthquakes and tsunamis are the most common environmental issues that Japan is facing. However, once again, the country is relying on technology innovation to help its population deal easier with those conditions. Japan was one of the first countries to implement regulations and approaches for environmental concerns. In order to reduce air pollution and secure the health and safety of its citizens, diesel vehicles whose emission levels were not conforming to the standards were prohibited in traffic. Automation was heavy introduced in the production of electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles to meet the demand of the population for those low-emission cars.

Also, the country has frequently faced environmental phenomena which have caused various hazards. Numerous earthquakes and tsunamis have destroyed thousands of properties and buildings living the country and the population in despair. However, Japan has understood that as Mother Nature cannot be controlled, it needs to find a solution to reduce the consequences of these conditions that the country is exposed to often. Therefore, the construction industry has been significantly improved with automation and robotics to increase its productivity in case of the consequences of natural disasters will hit the country again. Automated building construction systems have been developed in many Japanese companies to increase the speed of the construction works and for improved productivity.

In the last several years, Japan has undoubtedly become a leader in innovation and technology. Japan’s progress in automation, use of robots, and integration of artificial intelligence with daily living is likely to continue to thrive better than in many other advanced economies. It is a fascinating country which has become a technological superpower being focused on the scope for revolutionary development.

News source:
Jun 13
The Diet on Wednesday passed a bill requiring dog and cat breeders to microchip animals, and owners to voluntarily do the same to their pets, in a bid to reduce the number of strays. (Japan Times)
Jun 12
Japan's westernmost point has moved further west by about 110 meters, after it was decided to include an ocean rock on official maps. (NHK)
Jun 12
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is set to launch a subsidy to help prevent accidents involving elderly drivers. (NHK)
Jun 09
A fleet of vessels will depart from Kushiro, Hokkaido, on July 1 as Japan resumes commercial whaling following a three-decade hiatus after the government announced its withdrawal from the International Whaling Commission in December, a local fishery source said Friday. (Japan Times)
Jun 05
Japan plans to make it mandatory to charge for plastic shopping bags at supermarkets, convenience stores, drugstores and department stores as the country combats marine pollution by plastic waste. (Japan Today)
Jun 04
Japan's government will allow NTT Docomo and its three major mobile rivals to set up 5G base stations on traffic signals, hoping to reduce the cost and time it takes to roll out the ultrafast networks by taking advantage of the nation's high density of traffic lights. (Nikkei)
Jun 02
Police in Japan are spending more time than ever before on marijuana-related crimes. But elsewhere in the world, governments are legalizing the drug... and the buzz is building. (NHK)
Jun 01
Japan is moving to introduce legislation that would oblige pet shops, breeders and other sellers of cats and dogs to implant the animals with electronic chips. The system will be used to track down the owners of stray pets. (NHK)
May 26
It was around 3 p.m. on a chilly day in December. The sky was overcast and the scent of rain hung in the air when Rina Kambayashi happened upon a creature she had never seen before. (Japan Times)
May 24
Japan's new supercomputer Fugaku is set to begin operations around 2021 with the country aiming to regain the title of building the world's fastest computer, replacing its current supercomputer K, government-backed research institute Riken said Thursday. (Japan Times)