The Race to Commercialize Biotechnology: Molecules, Markets, and the State in the United States and Japan

The Race to Commercialize Biotechnology: Molecules, Markets, and the State in the United States and Japan

The Race to Commercialize Biotechnology: Molecules, Markets, and the State in the United States and Japan

The Race to Commercialize Biotechnology: Molecules, Markets, and the State in the United States and Japan

Excerpt

The Nissan/RoutledgeCurzon Japanese Studies Series was launched in 1986 and has now passed its sixtieth volume. It seeks to foster an informed and balanced, but not uncritical, understanding of Japan. One aim of the series is to show the depth and variety of Japanese institutions, practices and ideas. Another is, by using comparisons, to see what lessons, positive or negative, can be drawn for other countries. The tendency in commentary on Japan to resort to out-dated, ill-informed or sensational stereotypes still remains, and needs to be combated.

Since the ending of the Cold War international relations in the Asia Pacific have been slowly evolving to conform to new global realities. No doubt the most important adjustment has been towards a world dominated by the United States as the sole "hyperpower." But in what takes on the appearance of a unipolar world the United States shows some surprising vulnerabilities. This is most obvious in respect of international terrorism, and also in the acute difficulties it is facing in its efforts to rebuild Iraq.

By comparison with the Middle East, the Asia Pacific generally receives less media attention (with the current exception of North Korea). The Asian economic crisis of the late 1990s, and the Middle Eastern crises of the early 2000s (so sharply involving the United States), tended to reduce coverage of the region for a prolonged period. Meanwhile, however, the Asia Pacific was regaining much of its economic dynamism, manifested especially in the spectacular development of the Chinese economy. Japan, after a decade of relative economic stagnation, was gradually resuming its economic growth and showing some signs of greater political activism in relation to external threats. The crisis over North Korean nuclear weapons (real or imagined, but probably real), that emerged in the later months of 2002, gave a sense of urgency to the task of rethinking the international politics of the Asia Pacific region. Despite the extreme reticence of its foreign policy since the 1950s, Japan, as the second largest economy in the world, seemed destined to play a pivotal role in such a reassessment.

The Japanese, being a proud people and heirs to an ancient civilization, have long been concerned to map out their own path in the world. It is too simple to assume that they will simply follow a road designed for them by

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