(Yomiuri: December 8, 2015 – p. 11)
From the spring of 2016, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will help national universities and other institutes launch courses designed to make Japan’s cutting-edge technologies and products international standards. It will send its workers to those schools as temporary lecturers for a year. Osaka University, Yokohama University, Yamaguchi University and Kanazawa Institute of Technology are expected to join the program. It focuses on developing experts capable of setting international standards in fields in which Japanese firms have an edge so they can be better positioned to compete against foreign rivals.
METI officials will teach corporate strategies on what products should be established as international standards and how to negotiate with foreign governments and companies, as well as basic information on standardization. Meanwhile, universities will offer courses targeting engineering and MBA students and consider giving credit to those who take the courses.
The World Trade Organization in principle calls on governments to procure products that meet international standards when they conduct international bidding. Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, Malaysia and Vietnam will allow companies from TPP member countries to participate in bids for government procurement. The move is expected to enhance the significance of international standards.
In Japan, business organizations take the initiative in negotiations on international standardization. But they do not have enough specialists. Domestic firms are also short of such personnel. The aging of those who are knowledgeable about standardization is also making it more urgent to secure capable personnel.
In contrast, foreign companies are developing personnel capable of establishing their products and services as international standards. Samsung has 150 employees has who specialize in international standardization and Siemens has 24. In China, state-owned enterprises are stepping up efforts to develop experts in international standardization. (Abridged)