The creation of regional innovation has been positioned as an important policy issue both in the 3rd-term Science and Technology Basic Plan and the Innovation 25 in Japan. From May to June 2008, not only the “Regional Vitalization Strategy by Science and Technology” advocated by the Council for Science and Technology Policy, but also a series of strategies and proposals towards creation of regional innovation by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, etc. were determined and announced one after another.
In this strategic proposal, we aim at autonomous development of regional-based ecosystem with the “Formation of Regional-Based Ecosystem,” which was recommended by the CRDS strategic proposal and a vision of the “Regional Vitalization Strategy by Science and Technology” advocated by the Council for Science and Technology Policy, as a basic concept. In the medium- and long-term strategies, we covered such issues as formation of Regional COE Platform with universities at the core and acceleration of regional innovation by introducing a future regional system from the region-led perspectives as important items to consider in the future.
Aiming at autonomous development of regional-based ecosystem, we realize a vital regional society and strengthen the overall competitiveness of Japan by forming the Regional COE Platform with regional universities at core basis of knowledge, promoting further decentralization of power and creating the region-led unique, distinctive and autonomous regional innovation through the introduction of regional system. The roles of the government are to support the “initial roll-out,” accelerate regulatory reform and eventually promote regional development by self-reliant efforts of private and local public organizations based on the market principles, while keeping these strategies impossible to make by the private sector.
The goals are to build about 10 global bases which are internationally competitive and 30 community-based bases that respond to regional needs by 2020 as a rough target and promote the coordination between the networks of each basis. In addition, we promote regional vitalization through expansion of new industries and employment by introducing a regional system composed of about 10 districts as a result of further promotion of decentralization of power, promoting voluntary restructuring and consolidation of universities eyeing on specialization of educational and research functions within each region and creating regional innovation led by local public organizations such as unique and distinctive regional innovation policies.
To form the “Regional COE Platform” with national university corporations, which are regional “Bases of Knowledge,” at the core and establish a “Place” to create regional innovation (environment that people involved in universities/specialized vocational high schools/public testing and research institutes, private companies, core support organizations, chambers of commerce and industry/commerce and industry associations, local public organizations, etc. vitalized by inspiring each other). In order to form global bases with international competitiveness and community-based bases that respond to regional needs, the government should provide not conventional and stereotyped measures but intensive support that flexibly responds to regional characteristics and forms by respecting originality and diversity based on regional circumstances. In so doing, local public organizations should take the initiative in mobilizing people involved in universities, private companies, etc. and establishing a clear regional strategy and its roadmap that respond to region-specific circumstances, while the government should provide support based on the strategies.
Towards the creation of strategic and effective regional innovation, to develop a regional innovation system led by a regional government based on successful examples of other countries with similar population and industry scale such as Finland by introducing a regional system of wide-area local governments to be replaced by municipalities which are basic local governments based on the population of 200,000 to 300,000 people and prefectures. Furthermore, a regional government should support voluntary restructuring and consolidation of universities on their own will using advantages of scale eyeing on specialization of educational, research, social and regional contribution functions by expanding the university’s regional consortium that promote integration of national, public and private universities.