Technology and Industrial Development in Japan: Building Capabilities by Learning, Innovation, and Public Policy

By Hiroyuki Odagiri; Akira Goto | Go to book overview

11 Pharmaceuticals

The history of the pharmaceutical industry in Japan may be separated roughly into six stages: Stage I (up to the Meiji Restoration, 1868) when the firms sold various herb medicines of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean origin; Stage II (from the Restoration to World War I) when the firms imported Western medicines; Stage III (between the two world wars) when the firms started producing medicines to substitute imports; Stage IV (from the end of World War II to around 1960) when the firms imported technology through license agreements with Western firms; and Stage V (the 1960s onwards) when the firms have been intensifying their original R&D efforts.

There are now some 1,500 pharmaceutical producers in Japan. Most are small, with only 12 per cent of them employing 300 or more workers. The origins of these companies are diverse. Some of them, including the industry leader, Takeda, have a history that goes back to Stage I. Others have a much shorter history. For example, Eisai, which is currently one of the top ten, started in 1936, i.e., around the end of Stage III. This diversity has resulted from the downfall of many old firms that could not cope with the changing economic conditions, and active entries of new firms.


11.1 THE EARLY PERIOD

Although the history of the Japanese pharmaceutical industry has been basically that of catching up with the West, the technological gap should not be over-emphasized. Even in Europe, modern medical science is considered to have started in the mid- to late nineteenth century when Pasteur ( 1822-95) of France, and Koch ( 1843-1910) of Germany discovered bacteria and their relation to diseases. Therefore, even though Seclusionism during the Tokugawa era caused a delay in Japan's learning of the Western medical method, the delay was not as large as one might think.

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Technology and Industrial Development in Japan: Building Capabilities by Learning, Innovation, and Public Policy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Figures vii
  • List of Tables viii
  • Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgements xii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Economic and Technological Change from the Meiji Restoration to World War II 17
  • 3 - The Post-War Technological Progress and Government Policies 35
  • 4 - The Evolution of a Management System from the Tokugawa Era to World War II 64
  • 5 - Management in Post-War Japan and Today 88
  • 6 - Textiles 109
  • 7 - Iron and Steel 135
  • 8 - Electrical and Communications Equipment 155
  • 9 - Automobiles 179
  • 10 - Shipbuilding and Aircraft 204
  • 11 - Pharmaceuticals 235
  • 12 - What Can We Learn from the Past? 250
  • Notes 270
  • APPENDIX A Brief Chronology of Japan's History 277
  • Bibliography 280
  • Index of Names 295
  • Index 306
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