Strategies of Revitalisation: Regional Matching-Hubs for Medical Device Manufacturers and Hospitals in Japan
Dr. Susanne BRUCKSCH (German Institute for Japanese Studies – DIJ Tokyo)
Despite the demographic shift and being one of the largest markets for medical devices, there has been a drop in innovation activities over the past two decades and, nowadays, most appliances are imported to Japan. A substantial shift has taken place rather recently under the distinctive leadership of Prime Minister Abe by integrating biomedical engineering into the scheme of the Japan Revitalisation Strategy (Abenomics) to reinforce “industrial competitiveness in the areas of pharmaceuticals and medical devices” (METI 2016). Among others, the strategy aims at “renkei” ni yoru “jitsuyōka” (market cultivation through partnerships) between medical centers, academia and manufacturing companies. Particularly, regional authorities and municipalities promote R&D activities by offering subsidies to small and medium-size enterprises (SME) and organizing matching-hubs for ikō renkei (med-tech partnership) activities such as in Tōkyō, Yokohama, Kōbe, Fukushima and many other prefectures. Their defined goal hereby is to contribute to the revitalization of their very region with varying degrees of success.