The Way Forward for Japan’s Industrial Policy Support: Discussions at the GRIPS Development Forum


On Feb. 22, 2022, the GRIPS Development Forum and JICA Ogata Sadako Research Institute for Peace and Development (JICA Ogata Research Institute) held an online seminar entitled "Industrial Policy Support to Developing Countries: Toward Strengthening Policy Capability for Industrialization." This was the eighth of a collaborative seminar series "Thinking about the Future of Industrial Development in Developing Countries" by the GRIPS Development Forum and JICA Ogata Research Institute. In this seminar, researchers from JICA Ogata Research Institute’s research project entitled "Japanese Experiences of Industrial Development and Development Cooperation: Analysis of Translative Adaptation Processes" presented and discussed the contents in the book "Policy Learning for Industrial Development and the Role of Development Cooperation," which was published February 2022.

The seminar began with an overview presentation of the book by its co-editor Ohno Izumi, senior research advisor at JICA Ogata Research Institute and professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS). In her presentation, she highlighted the significance and characteristics of Japan’s industrial policy support to developing countries. According to Ohno, the characteristics of Japan’s support can be summarized as the following: 1) focus on individual industries, 2) dialogue with national leaders and policy makers, and 3) the collaborative approach of examining diverse development paths and policy options alongside cooperation with partner country policy makers, industry associations and research institutions. These characteristics were derived from the comprehensive analysis of multiple case studies covered in the book—the "Okita Report" in Argentina, the "Ishikawa Project" in Vietnam, the Policy Dialogue on Industrial Development in Ethiopia, and the "Mizutani Plan" in Thailand.

Ohno Izumi, senior research advisor at JICA Ogata Research Institute

The presentation was followed by a session with the book authors who wrote about Japan’s industrial policy support. The authors—Hosono Akio, senior research advisor at JICA Ogata Research Institute, Professor Amatsu Kuniaki of Yamaguchi University, Professor Ohno Kenichi of GRIPS, and Yamada Minoru, executive senior research fellow at JICA Ogata Research Institute—each spoke about their thoughts on the characteristics and effectiveness of industrial policy support.

In a subsequent Q&A session, one audience member asked if there has been evaluation of the results and impact of Japan’s industrial policy support. Another member of the audience commented that perhaps today's developing countries would be interested in experiences not only of Japan, but also of countries such as China, Taiwan, and South Korea. These questions and comments prompted a lively discussion concerning the way forward for Japan’s industrial policy support to developing countries.

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