The challenge of the Asian economic crisis in the late 1990s has placed pressure on the Japanese economy to change, causing the nation to turn to science and technology to safeguard its future. In this book, a team of three leading scholars in the field explore the dynamic relationship among science, technology and Japanese society, examining how it has contributed to economic growth and national well-being. The book includes several case studies in which competing views are presented, creating a synthesis of recent debates. Throughout, readers gain insight into the complex interplay between different values and interests, knowledge, and power. Chapters discuss government policy, the private sector and community responses; computers and communication; the automobile industry, the aerospace industry and quality control; the environment; consumer electronics; medical care; and the role of gender. This is an ideal introductory text for students in the sociology of science and technology, the history and philosophy of science, and Japanese studies. Up-to-date research and case studies make this an invaluable resource for readers interested in the nature of science and technology in the twenty-first century.
'As late as August 1998, Japanese prime minister Keizo Obuchi was unaware of the Y2K bug. That the leader of one of the world's most technologically advanced nations should have been ignorant of such a serious problem may come as a surprise. But it is one of many contained in a new book, Science, Technology, and Society in Contemporary Japan. Did you know, for example, that Japan has the worst dioxin contamination in the world? Or that the Japanese spend twice as much on prescription drugs as on rice? The warts-and-all picture of Japan that emerges from the book is very different from the glistening high-tech stereotype. It is painted by Morris Low, a senior lecturer at the University of Queensland, and two Japanese co-authors, Shigeru Nakayama, the preeminent historian of Japanese science, and his former student, Hitoshi Yoshioka' New Scientist