The government will submit to the upcoming Diet session a bill to strengthen competitiveness in industrial technology through measures supporting collaboration among industry, academia and the government, Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi said Tuesday. “It is imperative for Japan to develop creative technology through cooperation … and to turn it to a practical use,” Obuchi told the eighth meeting of the state Competitiveness Commission, which consists of 18 ministers and 20 business leaders. Tuesday’s meeting focused on the issues of strengthening technological capacity in industry and revamping the nation’s high-cost economic structures, which Obuchi said is important for beefing up the economy’s supply side. “Based on today’s discussions, we’ll submit the legislation on strengthening the industrial technological capacity, which encompasses measures concerning related people and financing,” Obuchi said. Obuchi is seeking to develop new technologies in three priority sectors — the environment, information technology and biotechnology — under the so-called Millennium Project by promoting cooperation between the public and private sectors and academia. To proceed with the state’s technological strategy, Obuchi said the government will map out in spring an updated basic plan on scientific technology by reflecting proposals made by the state commission on the graying society, environment, bio- and information technologies. To keep the manufacturing industry from shifting its production bases overseas and to develop growth industries, Obuchi urged the ministers concerned to press ahead with the nation’s ongoing structural reform. During Tuesday’s meeting, Tsutomu Kanai, chairman of Hitachi Ltd., urged the government to beef up activities of state and public universities in joint research and development with the private sector. The proposed bill would also enable professors at national universities to serve concurrently as executives of private companies.

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