PrevIndex Next

No. 21 — November 10, 1984

This issue is the last issue of the newsletter in its present form. The newsletter has been published primarily for the far-flung and obscure community of Japanese technical translators but has also been reaching an even broader group of readers: those who have scholarly and professional interests in the Japanese language and in Japanese technical and scientific information. The newsletter has now completed its lifespan after a year and a half of publication, during which it has found nearly 200 readers on three continents. The editor's main goals have been twofold: to use the newsletter to focus attention on the importance of Japanese scientific and technical information, and to win greater public recognition for the crucial role which technical translators have to play in making this information accessible. Another newsletter will be inaugurated soon, probably in January 1985. It will deal primarily with leading-edge Japanese technology, rather than narrowly linguistic matters of interest to Japanese translators. Current readers who are on the TJT mailing list will be kept informed about the editor's decisions about the new newsletter. (For more on editor's decision, see pp. 55–56, this issue.)


A large portion of this issue is devoted to a remarkable paper on Japanese information by Christian Galinski of Infoterm, Vienna. The paper, a real tour de force based on a profound knowledge of the subject, was originally presented at a conference of the Association of Special Libraries and Information Bureaux (England) (ASLIB) and was published in ASLIB Proceedings, vol. 36, no. 1, January 1984, pp. 24–60. The article will be especially interesting to readers because it reflects a European viewpoint. Unfortunately, Mr. Galinski did not have time to reply to the editor's letter requesting permission to reprint the article, but I am sure that Mr. Galinski will be pleased to have his views reach a wider audience. Incidentally, "I and D" in the article stands for "information and documentation."


A complete set of all 21 issues (all issues published from May 1983 through November 1984) is available from the editor for $40 (U.S.) or $45 (Japan and Europe). A limited number of these complete sets are still available, and orders will be filled as long as they are available.


Many thanks to the following readers who have kindly been reproducing the newsletter and distributing it to others in their countries:

Mr. John M. Shields, BEC Service, C.P.O. 42, Nagoya 450, Japan

Ms. Rosemary J. Yates, Japan Business Services Unit, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, England

* * *


Favourable environmental factors for the 'informatization' of the Japanese society and the consequences for Europe

Christian Galinski

International Information Centre for Terminology (Infoterm)

Paper presented at the Aslib conference 'Information for National Recovery: Needs—Resources—Technology', University of Stirling. Scotland, 13–16 September 1983.


BY THE BEGINNING of the eighties probably everybody in Europe should have recognized that the focus of industrial development and trade has shifted from the Atlantic region to the Pacific. If the US reoriented its main political and economic interests towards the Pacific basin that region would account for more than two-thirds of the international economic and commercial potential. Such a tendency exists; it is partly due to Japan's stunning economic success, which is going to trigger a similar technological and economic development in the so-called NICs (newly industrializing countries) of East and Southeast Asia, i.e. Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea. In all these countries there is an industrial policy and the will of the people to follow — but not necessarily to imitate — the Japanese example. The international competition within the region is therefore an important stimulus to further enhance Japanese development.

Europe has always underestimated Japan, considering it at best a junior partner in world economics and politics. Therefore some long-term patterns of Japanese development have not been taken into account, though recogniicd and pointed out by a few people. These long-term patterns are:

There are three main topics on which I would like to elaborate from a 'Pacific' viewpoint:

  1. Today Japan seems to be moving incessantly towards the top of a wave of technological-economic development. This development has a very broad base and is founded on a combination of several favourable factors. Information plays a crucial role in this development.
  2. Europe's attitude towards Japan so far can be characterized by mainly negative reactions and serious distortions in the Western image of Japan.
  3. Europe will have to react to the development in the Eastern part of Asia — or rather the Western part of the Pacific. The future role and status of Europe in the concert of nations will be largely influenced by this reaction.

This paper will focus on 'information' in Japan taking due account of the economic, political and technological framework of its development. The concept 'information' (J: joohoo) seems to convey more meaning in Japan than it does in Europe. Information encompasses all findings derived from human knowledge and scientific research and represents the basis for future research and development. By this, it gains — at least for Japan — the quality of an important 'new raw material' or 'new resource', the use, application and transfer of which has to be promoted for the sake of the nation's welfare. Thus information includes large parts of communication, management system engineering, automation, many so-called 'intelligent products' and last but not least information conveyed by the general news media. It is not surprising that the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) covers a major portion of information activities in science and technology in Japan (ref. 9. p. 63). Depending on its application the term 'information' can stand for a variety of concepts.13 For the purpose of this report it shall be defined as in the abbreviation 'I and D in science and technology'.

Japanese efforts to level-up technology

In the fiscal year ending March 1982 government and industry spent a total of $25 billion for research and development (R and D) which is 2.4 per cent of the gross national product (GNP). This is up almost fourfold compared to about ten years earlier — an annual increase of more than 10% with ever rising tendency (ref. 16. pp. 163–4). In a few years Japan hopes to be able to devote as much as 3 per cent of its GNP to R and D, which would make it a leader in this category. It has further stepped up technical training, producing 800 Ph.D. scientists and 74,000 engineers a year. Efforts for technological innovation are made in an increasing number of fields. The results of these efforts will become evident several years later in international industry and trade.

Main areas of development

What is remarkable is the new stress on the development of basic technologies, which in the past have been somehow neglected due to rather non-economic factors, e.g. social ones. In its policy vision the Industrial Structure Council (ISC) identifies the following four items as basic requirements and future challenges facing the economy (ref. 26, pp. 42f.):

(a) overcoming energy constraints;

(b) qualitative improvements in the standard of living and community facilities;

(c) promotion of a more creative, knowledge-intensive industrial structure;

(d) great stress on the development of second-generation technologies.

In view of the vital importance of the first three challenges for the 1980s, ISC designates the following technologies as 'priority technologies':

1 energy related technologies

1.1 technologies for the development of alternative energy

1.2 energy-saving technologies

2 technologies capable of meeting diversified consumer tastes

2.1 social system technology

2.2 medical and welfare technology

2.3 environmental protection and disaster prevention technology

3 technology-intensive industries

3.1 information technology

3.2 aircraft industry

3.3 space industry

Recognizing their central importance and taking a long-term point of view ISC calls the second-generation technologies 'basic technologies', listing

1. new materials technology

2. biotechnology

3. technology of elements providing new functions

If development is going in the direction outlined above future trade disputes over products of a very broad range of industrial activities are imminent.

What should be even more important to recognize in the West, however, is the holistic and systematic approach described under the heading 'priority technologies'. Since the seventies Japan has developed a systems approach in its ideas of itself and in the planning of its national development. Based on an essentially ethical attitude this includes the welfare of the nation in its natural, cultural and economic environment. The ideas expounded here go far beyond anything similar in he West. They are clearly to be allocated on a higher idealistic and moral level than aims and objectives usually put forward at the level of lobbies and pressure groups. Has the West for instance duly taken notice of the fact that Japan spends more money on environmental protection (3.4 per cent of GNP) than on defence (0.98 per cent of GNP which is 7.1 per cent of the public expenditure) and even on R and D?

Other efforts which are also not sufficiently taken into consideration in the West due to a lack of familiarity with the Japanese situation are those of small and medium enterprises. Small businesses account for about 70 per cent of all Japanese output, vs. about 40 per cent in the US. At this economic level competition is especially rough. MITI with all its 'small and medium business policies' has so far been unable to curb it — particularly when it occurs in growing industries, such as the information industry. Showing annual growth rates of 20 per cent upwards, it has a large share of small and medium enterprises. According to MIII philosophy, big industry deserves priority. However, the brands on the electronics products sold in Tokyo's Akihabara district prove that small and medium enterprises are doing quite well without governmental support. Recently some relatively new computer makers, like SORD, are given major chances to win a fair portion of the market for their goods at home and abroad.

Past measures for promoting small and medium enterprises mainly focussed on economic efficiency to be achieved by means of guidance in technology. It has, however, again been recognized recently that development in this part of the economy more than elsewhere depends on harmony between the families and business activities. Unless stable management activities, as well as stable family life for the owner and his family, are attained, measures for the promotion of small and medium enterprises cannot be effective in a real sense (ref. 27, p. 41). Besides the moralizing concern of MIII, there is a general reappraisal of the important role of these enterprises as regards innovative spirit and progress. At present new and as yet unknown Japanese computer brands are entering the European market. Other similarly successful enterprises in other so-called 'high-tech' fields (e.g. biotechnology) will appear as soon as they have stood their ground in fierce domestic competition.

Industrial policy, domestic competition and information

To speak frankly — there is no country in the West without an industrial policy of some kind or other. In the US it is carried out extensively in the form of military R and D projects. Every other industrialized country has its instrumentarium to support certain key industries directly or indirectly. What disturbs us in the West is that industrial policy in Japan — despite much lower figures for public spending (ref. 22, p. 22) — just seems to work more effectively. The only conclusion from this is that there must be other reasons for the relatively better performance of Japanese industry. Beside generally known aspects such as better preparation, highly motivated management. more highly qualified workforce, etc., the role of fierce domestic competition has to be mentioned at this point.

An increasing number of experts on Japan no longer believe in the talk of 'Japan Inc', a Western concept of Japanese cartels — or one monolithic Japanese economic block — to explain so-called 'unfair practices', hidden barriers to trade, etc., which were responsible for a poorer performance of Western companies in the light of Japanese success.35 In this connexion the role of the Japanese government is generally overrated. Government assistance — especially through the frequently overestimated MITI — has helped some key industries such as computer chips (VLSI), mechatronics (the modern face of machine tools), etc., get off the ground by advancing them technologically. However, many other key industries — best examples are the flourishing consumer electronics and the car industries — have never attracted major governmental attention (ref. 8. p. 32).

The success of the latter can only be explained by competition on the domestic market, which is definitely one of the roughest in the world. This competition makes 'information' a precious commodity. Japanese companies screen piles of scientific, technical and market literature for hints about technical advances. Domestic and often foreign rivals' new models are immediately disassembled to analyze their parts. So the company engineers are as familiar with the product lines of the competitor as with their own ones (ref. 8, p. 34).

The general attitude towards information in general in the West is that scientific-technical information has no material value per se. In Japan scientific-technical information and other specific information is one of the basic factors needed to remain competitive. We could therefore say that information is a new 'raw material' like coal or iron ore. It only needs to be processed and turned into a marketable product. So information has a value in itself.

The role of the Japanese government

The central government traditionally plays an important role in the development of all areas of society in Japan. This role and the underlying self-confidence are respected widely by the citizens. It was the private sector, however, which had to bear the main burden for development: in the nineteenth century by all kinds of taxes, nowadays by pushing leading industries into joint large-scale development projects. Decisions on what is good for the country are made with a high degree of common consent. There is virtually no major discordant note between the great economic forces and political decision making. To give an example for this: Japan's future communication society started with the large-scale 'Tama Coaxial Cable Information System' (CCIS) 1972–1977, in which mainly the software of an all-comprising computerized communication system was tested. In a contrast R and D programme started in Osaka (Higashi Ikoma), the hardware side of the problem (optical fibre cable communication, etc.) was explored.9 These projects were the practical consequence of the consensus reached between the government and the economic leaders concerning the necessity to push Japan forward on the way to the envisaged 'information society' or 'informatized society'.

In 1980 MITI and seven large electronics companies founded the 'Joint Research Association for VLSI Technology'. This project succeeded the preceding joint R and D projects of the years 1976–80, which had been sponsored by the government with $150 million (out of a total of $350 million). In 1982 the application of the latest generations of VLSI elements in communications was tested by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation (NTT), while its application in computer technology is already underway. With these activities Japan is well prepared for the era of VSLI technology, which has a prospective market of $2.5 billion in 1985 in Japan alone (according to Japanese sources opposed to $1.8 billion for the whole world according to US sources).10

Common to all these projects, and many others, is the involvement of the Japanese government, which provides the political framework, a minor part of the investment, and a favourable economic setting for a certain number of large companies. At the same time, however, other companies are struggling to acquire these new technologies on their own. Are they not handicapped by the privileged companies? Not at all, since the results of the joint projects are open to the public at large.

Today there is a new element in these large-scale projects. Foreign companies and governments are invited to participate. In the light of Japanese success on the one hand and growing foreign protest against Japanese advanced products on the other hand, Japan is gradually recognizing technological and economic development as a matter not only of national but of global dimensions.

As already mentioned the present-day role of the Japanese government in the development of the nation should, however, not be overrated. As a corollary of 'sustained development' on a broad scale throughout the country, its former predominant role even seems to be diminishing.

The role of visions

'In Japan's industrial policies, visions are considered the basis for policy measures. There are various kinds of visions: some cover overall industrial structures, others relate to certain segments of industrial structures or specific problems such as energy and industrial adjustment. And there are also visions called 'regional visions' which deal with the development of regional economies'.22

Such visions are not formulated by the government alone. They are formulated through open discussions of councils composed of representatives from various quarters, including not just industries but also financial institutions, academia, journalism, labour, small business, consumers and local public entities. Daily exchange of views with corporate managers, careful analysis of industries and industrial structure, and opinions from the press form the basis of discussions. It should be emphasized that this process of council deliberation guarantees the openness of policy planning.22

A vision has the following functions:

  1. Presenting in a well-arranged form useful information pertaining to the industrial structure, and indicating the basic direction of medium- or long-term policy. Thus uncertainties inherent in the market economy can be decreased so that private enterprises may demonstrate their viability more fully. In this connection, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) pointed out in a report on Positive Adjustment Policy (PAP) that abrupt policy changes or uncertainties about the direction of government had obstructed the vitalization of private enterprises in some countries in the West.
  2. Providing a source of useful information that may be utilized by businesses in formulating their strategies. However, it is entirely up to them to interpret or utilize a vision. A vision does not indicate corporate strategy, which must be determined by each individual corporation on its own responsibility.22

A good example for this is MITI's 'Industrial Policy Vision for the Eighties'39 conceived by the Industrial Structure Council (ISC), which is typical of the above-mentioned councils.

Foreign governments and parliaments do, of course, issue reports which seem to be similar to Japanese policy visions. In most cases, however, they lack the broad basis of discussion before publication. The Japanese visions in general are already widely accepted by individual and corporate decision makers at the point ot their publication. Like the 'white papers' (see p. 50) they are supplemented by various follow-up publications on various levels explaining and illustrating their contents.

This is also the case with the Report of the Committee for Information Industry of ISC of 1981,31 which was made available to the general public in a more elaborate and illustrated version.38 The annexes of the latter are a very useful compendium of tables and figures, graphs and illustrations, which renders the highly complex matter visually understandable to a wide public. The low price (of little more than $5) indicates a high distribution.

Domestic co-operation in R and D

Despite fierce domestic competition there exist a lot of co-operational ties developed within and between the public, academic and private sectors at all levels.18 In many cases these are rather loose ties on an ad hoc basis to solve pending problems. But often projects gradually develop into new private enterprises or semi-public institutions, which add to competition in the respective field. On the other hand such co-operational ties ease excessive competition. They account for a socio-economic framework, where brutish 'shootout' on the market is considered to have disharmonizing effects and to be shortsighted as far as development as a whole is concerned. Domestic cooperation in R and D — even without governmental involvement — contributes largely to industrial development in Japan. Here, too, the bulk of the financial burden of R and D is borne by the private sector.

The whole system — which actually is more a code of practice governed by rational and pragmatic considerations — probably accounts for the high performance (success against investment) of Japanese industry and trade which can be evaluated and measured in material benefits. It must be clearly pointed out that in the light of the above observations R and D has attained a dynamic force of its own, which has become largely independent from governmental guidance.

Negative side-aspects of economic development

There is an alarming increase of negative side-effects of economic development — like the increase of school-phobia, of juvenile delinquency, etc. 'Regarding Japan's social fabric there are signs of fraying at the edges. Alcoholism, nervous diseases, divorces and cases of individuals totally absconding from society — a phenomenon known in Japan as joohatsu (evaporation) — are all on the increase.3 At the same time a change in traditional ideals and values can be noted, however subtle. There are symptoms of what the Japanese refer to as advanced-country disease, namely a hardening of spiritual arteries, a gradual loss of motivation and direction, a sense of futility, all of which are compounded by growing individual greed at the expense of dedicated self-sacrifice to a common cause'.22

On the one hand the Japanese society is aging due to longer life expectancy. On the other hand young people would like to lead a more individual way of life. In a few years this could bring about social conflicts. To put these observations into perspective, figures for the above phenomena are still small — indeed miniscule — compared to standards in the US or in European countries. Japan has been used to rapid cultural changes since ancient times. At present it even seems as if most of the above negative aspects even foster the 'informatization' of Japanese society.

Information in Science and Technology

Japan — an 'Eldorado' for information

There is hardly any country in the world, where more information per capita is published and read. About 125 daily newspapers sell sixty-eight million copies (morning editions alone) every day making the Japanese the world's most devoted newspaper readers (with a reader ration per sold copy of nearly 60 per cent — compared to England and the Soviet Union with 40 per cent each). The biggest newspaper of the world is the Yomiuri Shinbun with a morning and evening circulation of 13.6 million reaching 38 per cent of Japan's 34 million households.12

Today Japan is one of the leading nations in the field of the publication of scientific-technical literature. Of a total of 28,000 journals, 9,000 deal with the 'hard sciences', 700–800 with the humanities. There is an increase of over 10 per cent in new titles (books and articles) annually in the field of information showing the importance which the Japanese public attaches to this field of knowledge.

Among the book publications, government and government-related (sponsored, ordered. etc.) titles account for a remarkable 50 per cent (1977: 16,000 out of 30,000 titles). A 1983 catalogue of government publications lists about 4,300 titles issued by ministries and government-related agencies and institutions.43

In the field of information and systems engineering (including computer hardware and software, industrial engineering, automation, operations research, electronics, quality control, data processing, programming, etc.) 1982 shows about 2,000 titles of serious publications on sale issued by about 120 publishers dealing mainly with this subject. This means another increase of more than 10 per cent compared to the figures of 1981 (refs. 9 and 10).

Japan is a veritable paradise for manuals, handbooks, dictionaries, directories and all kinds of other reference material. A 1981 directory on dictionaries and encyclopedia lists 4,436 titles9 (an increase of 822 compared to the 1977 edition — or 5 per cent per year, including only pure reference works of considerably high standard and not including the whole range of indexes, monthly reproductions of newspapers, statistics, training references, directories of names and institutions, etc.). The figures for 1982 are 6,092 showing an increase of 1,656 titles over the year before.32

The I and D 'strategy'

Strictly speaking the Japanese 'I and D strategy' is not really a 'strategy' but rather another one of the above mentioned visions, enforced by development and market necessities. How did this vision come into being?

The stages of post-war development of I and D. After the Second World War the institutional development in I and D in Japan started very slowly. It took place under the guidance of the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture (MESC) which is responsible for the entire educational system. In the seventies the development suddenly gained momentum. The function of pace setter was passed on to institutions under direct control of the Prime Minister together with those linked to MITI and finally to private enterprise. Let us review the stages of development:

Stage I (1948–57): In that stage many of the now leading institutions in I and D were founded. In 1948 the National Diet Library (NDL) was established, which supervised the setting-up of libraries according to the 'Library Law' (1950). In 1956 the 'Science and Technology Agency' (STA) was implemented as the main advisory institution to the executive for planning and co-ordination in the field of science and technology. The year 1957 saw the establishment of the 'Japan Information Centre for Science and Technology' (JICST), a special non-profit making organization which was placed under the guidance of STA.

Stage II (1958–69): In retrospect, those years were a period of transition. Expenditure for R and D rose at an impressive rate. Since 1965 the amount of data in science and technology (primarily bibliographical data) had increased sharply. As a consequence the 'Council for Science and Technology' (CST), an advisory institution to the Japanese Prime Minister, started work on a 'National Information System for Science and Technology' (NIST).

Stage III (1969–72): With the 'Basic Measures Concerning the Flow of Information in Science and Technology' of October 1969, a new era of development began. During those years a total of 150 research projects were adopted and carried out. There was, however, not much communication, i.e. interaction between the research groups, unlike later stages where several research groups were organized under a common sub-theme.

In the 'White Paper on science and technology 1970' one of the main foci was the situation regarding I and D in Japan. The backwardness in this field and all kinds of difficulties and drawbacks were pointed out frankly. At the same time this open analysis also provided the framework for future development. It explained the necessity of the programme for a 'National Information System for Science and Technology' (NIST) founded 1969 and claimed the legitimacy of the government to take the lead in the development of I and D in Japan.

Besides that the Report 'Technological Strategy for the Communication Society — a Systems Engineering Approach to the Development of Economy and Society' was published in 1970. In this report seven focal areas were postulated for the seventies, one of which explicitly deals with the communication and information system. Some others included I and D activities.9 The role of the government was defined as guarantor for

Principles of decision making were expounded, taking into consideration aspects of social engineering, systems engineering, cost, regional planning, etc. Since then Japan has systematically developed a systems approach to all fields of society and of course I and D, too. Top priority with respect to I and D was assigned to:

Seven keys were proposed to reach this aim, amongst which three dealt with information (e.g. think tanks), one with new forms of international cooperation and the rest with training and education in science and technology. In the above two crucial documents one can find the vision that guides the subsequent development of an 'informatized' society in Japan. As a result of efforts during that stage, the need for further research on information science was clearly recognized by researchers and administrators alike, and this need provided a great driving force for advancing research in the next stage.9

Stage IV (1973–75): In February 1973, a 'Standing Committee for Information in Science and Technology' was called into being, which revised and reformulated NIST in close collaboration with the sixteen ministries concerned. Having learned the lesson of the previous stage, projects were carried out in four research groups, which were supervised and co-ordinated by a liaison group. The work of these groups was linked by the following sub-themes:

  1. networks (computer networks, high-speed data circuits, data transmission, etc.)
  2. man-machine interfaces (online terminals, design of image processing systems, generalized interactive languages, etc.)
  3. utilization of science information (bibliographic information dissemination systems, information retrieval, etc.)25

One of the five focal tasks of NIST was to expand the 'Japan Information Centre for Science and Technology' (JICST) into the head organization for documentation, computerization, storage, retrieval and commercial exploitation of all accessible data in science and technology. At the same time however, the function of JICST was redefined into a kind of general information centre for 'general specialized' data in contrast to previous ideas of a centre for 'special specialized' data.

The activities at that stage (among others the project 'Advanced Information Processing of a Large Amount of Scale Data over a Broad Area' 1973–75), yielded the following results:

  1. The methodology applicable to more comprehensive research and development on information systems was developed and established.
  2. The question of how the information system ought to be defined was recognized as a very concrete problem, and the basic technological foundation was established to bring the system into being.
  3. The standardization required for networks was largely achieved.25

In August 1974 the following functions and elements were assigned to NIST in order to assure its implementation:

  1. central co-ordinating function
  2. clearing-house(s)
  3. data centres (including data bank producers)
  4. special information centres
  5. general information centres
  6. regional service centres
  7. a central depository
  8. terminal service points

The following were added later:

  1. training institutions
  2. R and D instititions9

Stage V (1976–78): During those years I and D activities were concentrated on research concerning input, accumulation and retrieval of 'science information' with the stated objective of promoting the development in the practical application of the results (e.g. the project: 'The Formation Process of an Information System and Organization of Science Information' 1976–78).

Education and training in information turned into an urgent need. In these years most of the specialized research institutions of the newly-founded Tsukuba University were founded or moved there. They were linked by the Tsukuba University Information System, at that time one of the most advanced information online systems in use by large-scale computer centres in Japan. In 1976 the Research Centre for Library and Information Science of Tokyo University was opened, followed by the Science Information Processing Centre of Tsukuba University in 1977.9

Since that stage it has been felt in Japan that all the university information centres could be linked in a nation-wide network in no time-provided the necessary funds were available. Seven large-scale computer centres for interuniversity use had already been set up.

Stage VI (1979 until about 1982): 1979 brought about a breakthrough in I and D in several areas. In October the 'University of Library and Information Science' in Tsukuba offering a four-year course was opened. Thus the scholarly campus of Tsukuba developed into a model not only for I and D data processing and retrieval but also for I and D education and research.

In June 1979, 'A new plan of a "Science Information System" (SIS) in Japan' (An Interim Report) was published leading to the actual 'Report of the Science Council' under the same title in January, 1980.25 This report openly points out the backwardness of Japanese I and D in certain areas. It defines the main areas of future efforts as follows:

  1. Primary information should be collected and consolidated systematically and effectively ... it is necessary to work out means for a more effective nation-wide utilization of the collected materials ... service capabilities at university libraries should be improved and reinforced substantially... by a more appropriate management of library organizations ... and by a more reasonable centralization... mutual cooperation among libraries should be further promoted .... plans should also be made for the systematic collection and provision of new forms of primary information other than bodies or research journals.
  2. As for secondary information ... an information retrieval system should be organized to meet the information requirements of researchers throughout the country ... a system for cataloguing and holding information should be established as early as possible .... the interface functions between retrieval system and researcher as end user of information should be enhanced .... close functional interrelations should be established between the organizations managing the various databases and providing information services.
  3. Database development work should be undertaken with adequate broad co-ordination after having carefully examined the areas with a prospect for further development .... consideration should be given to fostering the role Japan should play in the shared efforts of organizing secondary information on the international level.
  4. A new Science Information System (SIS) should be implemented, which would work on a non-commercial basis using the idea of resource sharing. It should meet the advanced and diversified information requirements of science research in the academic community. Databases to be produced in the SIS will, unlike those in general use around the world, have highly advanced and pioneering contents.25

These are the idealistic views of the academic society, as presented by MESC. At the same time, however, other institutions are working fervently to achieve a more commercial application of I and D hardware and software. Many of these activities are carried out under the guidance of the Science and Technology Agency, but there are also many institutions which conduct research in the field of information science, in collaboration with MIII, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, other government agencies and private organizations. It can be said that MESC is only one leading factor among others in the development of I and D in Japan — and it is probably not the most active one.9

The information technology since the beginning of the eighties. The present stage of development started around 1982 and can probably be characterized best by the development of technology in this field. At the end of that year an exhibition of hardware and software to be used for I and D activities called Database Fair '82' was organized by the Japanese Society for Documentation (NIPDOK) in Tokyo. It clearly revealed that Japanese companies are catching up quickly. In the near future the results of the present large-scale build-up of production facilities for VLSI circuits will become evident. In the mid-eighties major breakthroughs in computer technology (hardware and software) can be foreseen accompanied by further miniaturization of main components. Probably in a few months the Japanese I and D market will offer inexpensive and highly sophisticated equipment hitherto unknown.

At the same time substantial headway has been made concerning the development of software production systems. It can already be foreseen that Japanese software producers will corner the market by '100 per cent quality control' in software. Japanese users claim a high reliability in software as well as in hardware. The attitude in Japan is that software produced by professionals should have no bugs, since bugs are defects in the product: reliability of a product is considered reliability of the maker as a whole.34 Another very important aspect of future I and D industry, namely the development of information network architectures in Japan, is taken into very little account in the West. Very soon more than 50 per cent of such systems in the world will probably be run by Japanese companies. Until the end of this decade Japan will be covered by a net of optical fibre cable telecommunication lines. It will then be possible to shift any amount of data from one part of the country to another any time at very low cost.

The project of the 'fifth-generation computer',36 which is supposed to lay the basis for future 'world knowledge data banks' will add to the above mentioned development as soon as some of the sub-projects bear results. According to recent information7 governmental subsidies from the MITI affiliated 'Agency of Industrial Science and Technology' (Kōgyō Gijutsuin) were granted in sixty-six cases in 1983 totalling 2.14 billion yen (about $9 million). Thirty-six of these sixty-six projects are extensions of running ones, while thirty new projects got initial funding. These projects were selected under the aspects of the promotion of the

Eleven topics were concerned with co-operative projects between various industries and on different levels. All projects are listed together with the receiving institution or organization. Among the sixty-six projects at least twenty deal with computer hardware, software or related electronics, like

Many of these projects will have direct impact on the further 'informatization' of the Japanese society.

Institutionalized activities in I and D

I and D activities are carried out mainly in three areas:

The specialized national or public institutions and certain learned societies have a leading role in the development of I and D in Japan. The institutions listed in the following paragraphs together with their functions and tasks are not of a commercial (private economy) or branch-specific nature. They were selected according to four criteria:

  1. They process data from the fields of natural science and technology, legal protection of industrial property and standardization.
  2. Their expenses are covered by public funds and not primarily by commercial funds.
  3. They also carry out services with secondary and tertiary material.
  4. They are of special significance in the establishment of the field of information and documentation in Japan.

In spite of fierce competition among the Japanese I and D institutions, Japan is obviously at present succeeding in enhancing development in this field in the interest of the entire nation.9

The Japan Information Centre for Science and Technology (JICST). The staff of JICST, which was founded in 1957 under the supervision of the Science and Technology Agency, grew from an initial 32 employees to a permanent staff of about 340 employees in 1981. JICST has international connections with the FID (Fédération Internationale de Documentation), with the ICSU-AB (International Council of Scientific Unions — Abstracting Board) and UNESCO (General Information Programme of Unesco — formerly UNISIST). It has the task of collecting, processing and offering to interested parties, as fast as possible, all available information concerning science and technology. Domestic information (not only regular publications, but also secondary information, technical reports, conference documents, potent documents, etc.) and information from about fifty foreign countries (mainly from the US, England and FRG) is obtained by JICST as rapidly as possible. The material is reproduced, displayed in reading rooms, classified, filed in archives, documented and processed into secondary and tertiary information. In 1982 JICST processed 6,610 foreign journals, 3,750 Japanese journals, 35,000 technical reports (1980), 750 conference documents (1981), 49,000 patents and other documents (1980). A selection of these materials (about 400,000 titles in 1982) made by about 100 in-house information officers is abstracted by about 5,000 external experts. The information officers with scientific and technological backgrounds then check subject contents, terminology, phrasing and bibliographic references as well as assign classification codes (modified UDC-Universal Decimal Classification Code) and keywords (based on the JICST Thesaurus). These data are processed by means of the HITAC M180 System.

JICST developed its own online computer system, named 'JICST Online Information System' (JOIS). Through this system, the data can be retrieved by means of keywords which are contained in the JICST Thesaurus. JICST also offers data of foreign data banks. In 1980 JOIS-II was implemented. It links eight regional centres thus forming an online network.9 Another important function of JICST is that of a clearing-house for thesaurus and terminology work. July 1982 saw the start of a three-year programme of STA for the development of an automatic translation system. Within the framework of this project JJCST will expand its JICST Thesaurus to a terminological data bank of between 400,000 and 700,000 term records (depending on the budget available). These terms with English equivalents will serve as the skeleton for the transfer of specialized information from English into Japanese and vice versa.6

Until the present, JICST information available via the JOIS system was not accessible from abroad. Starting 1984 JICST is going to provide a few selected countries (France, South Korea and probably the FRG) with the equipment and know-how to retrieve JICST data directly online.5

The Japanese Society for Documentation (NIPDOK). NIPDOK was founded in 1950 as a successor to the UDC Society of Japan and has the status of a non-profit and private organization. Similar to JICST, NIPDOK is also under the supervision of STA. It is composed of corporate and individual members. Among its member institutions there is, for example, JICST. As of August 1982 the membership has grown to 300 organizations and 800 individuals.

The most important publications of NIPDOK are Dokumentēsyon Kenkyū/Journal of the Japan Documentation Society and a new scientific journal on microfiche Informant. The gradual translation of the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) into Japanese, is one of its prominent tasks. In 1983 the revised third edition of the book Science Information in Japan is going to be published (in English). NIPDOK also functions as a clearinghouse for the standardization of terminology in the field of I and D. In this connection, it works together with ISO/TC 46 on the international level and with JICST in the domestic area.

NIPDOK is also engaged in the training of documentation specialists and librarians. In the fiscal year of 1981 thirteen courses were held with an attendance amounting to 340 NIPDOK members. Annual symposia are organized, where members report on their research and other activities.

The National Diet Library (NDL). NDL is one of Japan's largest libraries. With regard to its library functions, its responsibilities correspond to those of many other national libraries. However, they far exceed the general functions of a library. Under the NDL, in co-operation with NIPDOK, rules for the standardization of Japan's complete library system have been worked out (with the exception of some large university libraries).

NDL collects and catalogues all printed material published in Japan, and foreign publications as far as possible. Its reference section has the largest number of titles in Japan. Its most important publications are the catalogues of printed materials in its holdings, which are continuously supplemented, including among others the Directory of Japanese Scientific Periodicals, one of the most comprehensive lists of all periodicals appearing in Japan. Its bibliographic data are all translated into English.21

The Japan Standards Association (JSA). JSA was founded in 1945 as a public institution under government authorization. It currently has about 160 employees and about 4,200 supporting members. In addition to the preparation and publication of Japanese standards, it has the responsibility of handling standards from more than one hundred different organizations in more than fifty countries.

For the benefit of the country, the industrial standards are co-ordinated with international as well as with foreign national industrial standards. The titles of the Japanese industrial standards are all translated into English and available in the form of the annually published JIS Yearbook. Quite a big number of industrial standards are translated into English. It should be pointed out that the Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) in original Japanese are at present available only at a few places in Europe while the original standards from more than fifty countries are available in Japan.

JSA publishes its own vocabularies of standardized terminology. A recent comprehensive single volume dictionary edition containing all Japanese vocabulary standards can be considered to be produced at a most advanced level of computer-aided lexicography.30

The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture (MESC). MESC is trying to maintain its position in the field of information and documentation in Japan. In this connexion, two departments should be mentioned: the Unesco and International Affairs Department and the Science Information and University Libraries Division, the latter collaborating closely with the national universities. Under the supervision of MESC, a number of retrieval systems at major national universities have been established in Japan, some of which have already been linked through the joint efforts of Tokyo University, Kyoto University and NTT.

Because of the variety of systems the task of harmonizing them and of establishing the cooperation between university libraries is rendered very difficult. In addition, an information and documentation system for the acquisition of data on all research work that is being carried out is still in its planning phase, although it has been discussed for a long time. This shortcoming, as well as the various restrictions with regard to the exchange of material between the universities, does not support the co-ordination of the research tasks in the natural sciences.

The Science Information and University Libraries Division houses the Subcommittee for Terminological Research founded as early as 1947. Despite the ambitious plans for the standardization of terminology in the natural sciences and technology, about twenty-five small- to medium-size bilingual glossaries have been prepared during the years since 1954. Because of limited personnel, this body was only able to carry out a co-ordinating function. The task to compile these dictionaries was passed on to different scientific societies, which were able to compile them at their own discretion. MESC's continuous endeavours to harmonize scientific and technical terminology in Japan has revertheless contributed largely to the high standard of lexicography in Japan.

The Japan Institute of Invention and Innovation (JIII). Founded in 1904, JIII has meanwhile grown into a large organization. It serves the field of invention in Japan in practice and helps the firms as well as the inventors to obtain suitable protection for their ideas. The Institute has branches in all regional and city administrations of Japan (a total of forty-seven), whichtogether with two institutes for research problems in connection with industrial legal protection — are headed directly by the board of directors.

The Institute publishes several excellent periodicals. In co-operation with the Japanese Patent Office, the data of all Japanese and of the most important foreign patents, utility models, trademarks, etc. are collected, stored and abstracted. Especially during the past few years, the Institute has published a number of excellent reference works, such as indexes, directions for application, current awareness journals, classifications, concordances, legal collections and directories for experts and laymen.

The central office of the Institute in Tokyo has 200 employees (1977), and in the whole country, the institute employs some 470 persons who can draw upon a considerable reserve of more than 10,000 freelancers. JIII has more than 13,000 members. In addition to the information and documentation activities, the main task of the institute is the use of the existing and stored data to further activities in the field of invention and innovation in Japan. JIII therefore organizes inventors' fairs and invention competitions (even in schools), coordinates the R and D efforts of individuals and private firms and has extensive instruments for actively furthering invention activities.

The Japan Patent Information Centre (JAPATIC). JAPATIC was founded in 1971 during an extensive reform of the patent examination and publication sector with the active support of JIIII. JAPATIC is developing more and nore into an institution that collects and processes all relevant patent data within the shortest time possible, stores them on microfiche, abstracts them, and offers them to interested parties in the form of various research and translation services. A joint Patent Data Online Retrieval System (PATOLIS) has been operative since mid-1979 with the assistance of JIII. Today's PATOLIS can even store and retrieve image data. Information on 400,000 national and foreign patents is collected and processed in close cooperation with the US.

Small Business Promotion Corporation (SBPC). There are a number of other institutions that also deal with information and documentation, but not exclusively. One of the most important ones is SBPC in Tokyo. It was created in 1967 by special law, recognizing that medium-sized and small businesses would have an increasingly difficult future due to domestic and international competition. It was conceived as a clearing-house within a network of information centres, and was to furnish not only technical-scientific information, but also general and special marketing information and advice concerning financial support.

SBPC is a unique tool for the Japanese government to curb unbalanced development due to 'big-science' and national large-scale R and D projects. It can be regarded as a regulator for industrial competition. Although MITI generally regards small and medium enterprises only as of 'regional' importance, actual economic development tells a different story. These enterprises can be regarded as a reservoir of industrial restructuring and adjustment. Especially in the field of computers and so-called 'new materials' some of the companies achieved incredible success accompanied by stupendous growth. Highly modernized small and medium enterprises will play an important role in the further development of decentralization of industries in Japan, thus increasing the standard of living and laying the basis for a higher rate of consumption also in rural Japan.

Organizations in the field of librarianship. The Japan Library Association (JLA) is a professional organization of libraries in Japan. At present. membership stands at about 5,000. JLA is also engaged in training in I and D for libraries.

The Special Libraries Association (JAPAN SLA) plays an active role in the development of I and D in Japan. More than 500 institutions and libraries are organized in this Association. The National Diet Library is playing an important role in the management of the Association.

Other organizations. There are quite a few information centres specialized in one area of science and knowledge each. Some of them are:

  1. Japanese Medical Abstracts Society
  2. Medical Information System Development Centre (MEDIS)
  3. International Medical Information Centre (IMIC)
  4. Japan Pharmaceutical Information Centre (JAPIC)
  5. Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan
  6. Japan Association for International Chemical Information (JAICI)
  7. Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute (JAERI) Nuclear Data Centre
  8. Japan Science Foundation (JSF)
  9. Railway Technical Research Institute

I and D in private industry

Until about 1970 intra-company I and D activities and equipment in Japanese private industry lagged far behind the US model. Since then big enterprises — especially the Japanese-style multinational corporations — have caught up considerably (e.g. Ajinomoto).9 Trade companies like Mitsubishi make use of quite sophisticated information systems.

As data processing costs have decreased considerably compared with fairly stable costs for data transmission, many companies utilize decentralized data systems. This has led to a relative reduction of transmission costs on the one hand and higher efficiency, higher status and higher creativity of the place (and person) of actual application on the other hand. As the utilization of personal and microcomputers as online terminals is becoming commonplace, the use of database services is bound to increase. The availability of such services gives added impetus to office automation.

At the same time companies are beginning to view their libraries and information services as possible profit centres, providing trend studies, computational functions and the analysis of assorted information. Quite a few Japanese firms have been striving to apply database management-systems technology to their own collections of data to produce in-house databases. Besides that and not coincidently, Japan has become a principal market for foreign vendors of huge databases, a fact which is already having a considerable influence on the Japanese information industry. There are fears in some quarters that this influence could thwart the development of a healthy domestic database industry.2

Education and training in I and D

Since 1967 research institutions specializing in the study of information science within a university framework have been established. They amount to some thirty-eight departments in information science set up within the faculties of science and engineering around the nation in 1979, training nearly 2,000 students per year. But the curricula of these studies vary to such an extent that they are barely comparable. Three years earlier there were only twenty-nine universities, thirteen of which were offering post-graduate studies and providing courses in information science to about 1,251 students. There were, however, at the same time about seventy university institutes for library science teaching about 5,000–6,000 students (graduates). Part of their curriculum contains information science, too.9

Besides that MIT! has long since established the 'Institute of Information Technology' (IIT) in order to respond to the need for information specialists all over the country. JICST, NIPDOK and other institutions provide courses of all kinds and levels in information and documentation. Since 1980, when the University of Library and Information Science in Tsukuba started to function, there have been strong tendencies to systemize and concentrate efforts in this field.

In May 1983 the Diet voted to create nineteen more 'academic towns' like Tsukuba around Japan. These 'technopolises' shall lead the country smoothly into a 'network-type society'.11 In the course of this development I and D activities will spread resulting in a general levelling-up in this field.

Unbalanced development of the information sector comparing Europe and Japan

The situations seen through Japanese eyes

The current tensions bedevilling relations between Japan, the US and Europe are more than just economic. Since the mid-nineteenth century the Japanese have taken up the challenge of competing with the West on Western terms. They consciously chose to define themselves according to Western values. This choice still stands — today without the Pan-Asian ideology — and remains the source of Japan's equivocal relationship with the rest of Asia to the present day1. On the other hand this choice — combined with a certain inferiority complex regarding the West — helped motivate Japan's successful modernization. This pragmatism survives to the present day and its force in Japanese society should not be underestimated.

The year 1868 saw the Meiji-Restoration. The old 'feudal' social and political order broke down, an event to which Europe had contributed quite a bit. A new government seized power. Hundreds of highly and sometimes less qualified 'foreigners' were put on the payrolls of the central and regional governments to reshape the whole country according to the model of the most advanced nations of that time. The vast majority of foreigners in Japan were not ready to learn the language of their 'masters'. On the contrary some of them even tried to advise the Japanese to change their national language to English. Still they were treated with respect — even when they were not needed any longer. Their wages were sometimes one hundred times higher than those of a similarly qualified Japanese. Japan thus invested a great deal of money in these 'foreign advisors' and was determined to exploit as much of their knowledge as possible for the sake of the nation.

In the end the Japanese put into practice what they had learned. After some thirty years they reduced the number of foreigners and their respective salaries and managed to get the 'unequal treaties' revised. At the same timeby winning their first armed international conflict (1894: peace treaty of Shimonoseki between Japan and Imperial China) — Japan emerged as one of the imperialist powers in the Pacific.

'During the economic depression in Europe after the First World War discriminatory quotas and high tariffs were set whose effect was gradually to close European and colonial markets to Japanese goods.... These years of rejection by the West and the closing of its markets to Japanese goods saw an ideological "return to the East" in Japan, whose hallmark was a militant anti-Western Pan-Asianism. Indeed the war in North China was frequently justified as a legitimate search by Japan for new markets to replace those closed to them by Western protectionism ... With some justification a Japanese official writing in a 'non-official' capacity observed in 1934:

Eighty years ago, Japan was compelled to open her door to Europe and America. Small-scale industries of Japan could not stand the competition of Western goods which were produced with superior machinery. Consequently they all ceased to exist. That is history. Japan was then told that free trade was a means whereby the common welfare of mankind was promoted. By discarding industries which did not suit her and by concentrating on those best suited to her, she has now attained that stage where some of her industries are superior to those of old industrial countries. As soon as she begins competing with them, she is condemned in the name of humanity.

Many of the arguments used on both sides ... were to be repeated in the post-war period and again after the oil shocks in the 1970s and 1980s.' (ref. 40,pp. 187–8)

Something similar to the way things went in the Meiji era happened after the Second World War. I need not recall how Japan was defeated and destroyed. The conditions under which it had to start its economic and political reconstruction were far from favourable. Again, however, Japan started to learn from America and Europe. Again, the Japanese received a great deal of unrealistic advice. And finally the result once again turned out to be typically Japanese: the whole nation learned from the victors and invested in man. People were trained, students and experts went abroad (a very costly undertaking at that time), foreigners were employed at high cost, etc. 'It took a number of years after the Pacific War for trade to recover to prewar levels. For most of Japan's European trading partners this had been achieved by the mid-fifties, at which time there was also a return to the old unbalanced pattern of a large European surplus.' (ref. 40, p. 188)

In 1955 Japan entered the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), but several of the European countries refused to extend most-favoured nation treatment to her. 'The problem was that the old fears of Japan flooding European markets with cheap goods were still very much alive and it was for this reason that important restrictions had been set up even before Japanese imports had started arriving. It was also noted that the Japanese market itself was securely closed to European exports. Only by about the time when Japan was admitted as a full member of the OECD (in 1964) was it that most of the European countries agreed to dis-invoke Article XXXV, and to dismantle discriminatory quantitative restrictions against her. Even so, several countries still insisted as a quid pro quo on having a safeguard clause included in their trade agreements with Japan entitling them to take unilateral measures to stop Japanese imports in case of "emergency".

Today the number of discriminatory quantitative restrictions has been greatly reduced, but their continued existence is still regarded in resourcepoor Japan, ever sensitive to such discriminations, as psychologically offensive, a stumbling block to improving EC-Japan relations.' (ref. 40, p. 189)

A report of the Commission of the EC in 1970 put its finger on the reasons for the Japanese trade surplus with Europe. Not unfair Japanese trading practices or non-tariff barriers were keeping European exports out of Japan, but, it implied, the lack of competitiveness of certain European industries as compared with their Japanese counterparts (ref. 40, p. 239). Wilkinson (ref. 40, p. 241) lists two indications for 'efforts', or their lack, in exporting to a foreign market. One is the number of businessmen taking the trouble to go to the market they wish to sell in. The other is the amount of finances head-offices are prepared to invest in overseas marketing or manufacturing. It is a fact that thousands of Japanese businessmen and bankers are stationed in the EC in more than 1,000 offices (six thousand alone from the major trading companies). Many tens of thousands go to Europe on business trips. Many of them are just keeping their eyes open for ideas or inventions to use on the domestic market in order to have an advantage over their competitors. In contrast to these figures there are more annual visas issued to Christian missionaries from the EC to go to Japan than there are to businessmen and bankers. These figures are self-revealing. But these are not the only indications.

The Japanese are willing to undertake efforts for the sake of enhancing their knowledge irrespective of professional benefits. Millions of children are taught English at school — often according to methods fit for studying at a feudal fief school at the beginning of last century. Lots of them continue to improve their English at private schools or with individual teachers after school hours and later after work hours. Hundreds of thousands are learning other foreign languages — like French, German, Russian, Spanish, Chinese and others — out of a feeling for a principal necessity or usefulness — even if they never have the chance to apply their knowledge. Japan thus is also an 'Eldorado' for private foreign language schools and foreigners teaching any foreign language (never mind a Portuguese teaching English). Foreign language abilities provide access to foreign knowledge/information, which — as was stated above — is a 'raw material' necessary for the welfare of the nation.

What about the situation of information on ! and D systems? Perusing only one volume of Joho Kanri/Journal of Information Processing and Management it becomes obvious how well the respective specialized field watches the development of I and D in the West. Here a few examples from Vol. 24 (1981 04–1982 03, English translation quoted from the Journal):

Besides that Western and Japanese systems in application are compared and analyzed. Quite a number of articles deal with forecasts, visions, perspectives and other aspects of future development.

These and other examples show that Japan uses a rather time consuming, costly, but systematic and persevering approach to overcome problems — to change unfavourable and weak situations gradually into strength.9 In the relations with the West this approach causes some obstacles and hindrances to communication, which seem to work both ways. Foreigners have so far failed to make similar efforts to understand Japan, which has added to old Japanese prejudice toward themselves: that Japanese culture and society is too complicated to be ever understood by foreigners. This prejudice prevents the Japanese from expressing themselves and things Japanese appropriately to foreigners, which again reinforces the prejudice of foreigners that these Japanese can never be understood. It is a vicious circle.

Environmental factors favourable to the development of 'knowledge industries' in Japan

The Japanese industry today seems to be in the gravity centre of the technological development of world's most advanced industries (excluding the military complex). In particular the macrodynamics of the electronics industry is apparently following a law of technoeconomic behaviour: basic technology flows to the point of most efficient application and production. Whereas basic technology was developed mainly in the US and then transferred to Japan, where it was rapidly, efficiently and economically applied, today's leading products of Japanese industry are original, homegrown products of Japanese technology. This tendency can be observed in the field of very large scale integration (VLSI) as well as in space-technology, communications, energy research, chemical and biological engineering, mechatronics, etc.10

Around 1985 substantial progress in the field of office automation, of the application of new technologies in data transmission and of the development of the I and D services is forecast to converge and trigger a new economic boom in Japan. There are virtually no social obstaclesthe acceptance of these developments among the Japanese is very high. At the national level the legal prerequisites for such a development are under discussion, so that political and legislative measures can be taken in time. It is not an exaggerated assumption that technological progress itself combined with fierce domestic competition as well as foreign resistance to Japanese economic success will push Japan further ahead in the direction of its long-range perspective:

'The development of a Japan, where the knowledge industry will become predominant in the total industrial structure.'

Miniaturization in the field of computer components seems to facilitate any progress in the field of computer technology, software engineering and information. The Japanese industry and economy experiences some early advantages of the information society to come. There are plans to establish centres for specialized subject field information throughout the country. Industry is prepared to providc. the necessary technologies for the future computer architectures. The whole nation apparently takes it as a matter of course that Japan will take the lead in this field.

I need not elaborate on the cacophonic appearance Europe offers to a foreign I and D specialist when compared to Japan in the fields of high technology and future oriented research. In the following chapter some serious deficiencies including information shall be pointed out accompanied by proposals for improvement.

The European image of Japan

In contrast to the Japanese image of Europe, which is fairly reliable due to Japanese efforts, the European image of Japan is severely distorted. The actual transfer of information between Japan and Europe is largely the outcome of the job of professional mediators such as academic specialists, journalists or diplomats, according to Wilkinson.40

Concerning Western Japanologists we note that there is an overspecialization regarding language experts (ref. 40, p. 290). Reporting from Japan is in the hands of some 250 accredited foreign correspondents from all over the world. Why then is information on Japan in Europe often inaccurate and why does it appear only sporadically? Wilkinson experienced that with a handful of notable exceptions, the foreign correspondents are usually unable to speak or read Japanese (ref. 40, p. 294). They are thus severely handicapped in obtaining first-hand information and in finding a deeper understanding for their professional 'object'.

Regarding diplomacy the same author deplores the disappearance of the scholar-diplomat of former times (ref. 40, p. 296). Last but not least there is a huge gap between the numbers of European professionals — including politicians, businessmen, labour leaders, students, athletes, etc. — and even tourists — visiting Japan and their Japanese counterparts. And there is such a contrast in seeing Japanese in Europe knowing exactly what they want to see and well prepared, compared to many Westerners visiting Japan just to go and see — which side of Japan: the myth, the shock, the hypermodernism, the traditionalism? This means that they will get one of these deeply rooted one-sided images of the country but will not get to know Japan as it is.

Systematic access to Japanese information

Basic tools

If Europe is interested in Japanese information — and it should be interested in order to remain an equal partner — Japanese information in science and technology should be systematically acquired, analyzed, evaluated and used for the sake of specialized communication and technology transfer in both directions.

Sometimes information, which is relevant to Japan, is translated into Japanese and available nearly at the time of its official publication (e.g. GATT rules, Second Lomé Agreement, etc.). On the other hand Japanese information (viz originating from Japan and written in Japanese) in the fields of economics, science and technology often takes a long time and strange detours until it reaches the European user. At the same time the percentage of Japanese information written in foreign languages in these fields decreases gradually by about 2 per cent annually, which means an annual increase of the language barrier of 2 per cent to the dicdvantage of Europe. In the following a practical approach will be described to find the tools for information on relevant publications and documents and to show how to use them in an inexpensive and efficient way.

Although there exist yearbooks and catalogues on all Japanese publications they are cumbersome to peruse if one caters only for highly specialized information, which can be found

  1. in the form of ordinary book publications
  2. in specialized journals
  3. in government publications and documents
  4. in publications of learned societies and associations
  5. in other information sources

Since I cannot cover all fields of knowledge here I will concentrate on information in science and technology.

1. Among others book publications comprise

In the field of information most of the first two of these can be found in the specialized catalogue for this field called Joohoo keiei koogaku shomokuroku/Catalogue of books on information and management engineering23 which is published annually at the beginning of the year and can be obtained at very reasonable cost (250 yen). Reference publications (handbooks, dictionaries, etc.) can be found under several different headings in the publication Jiten jiten soogo mokuroku/List of dictionaries and encyclopedia32 which is also published annually and costs about £8 (3,000 yen in 1982). Regarding new book publications in general one could subscribe to the journal Shuppan nyuusu/Publication News33 which appears three times a month (420 yen per issue) and lists the latest publications.

2. The leading specialized journals are indicated at the end of the abovementioned catalogue of information and management engineering publications. Other journals and newsletters can be found in the Directory of Japanese learned associations, which is described under item 4 below. All other relevant journals can be looked up in the catalogue Zasshi shinbun sookatarogu/Periodicals in print, which lists about 10,000 titles.24

3. Publications by the Central Government, governmental institutions, affiliated institutions or government sponsored publications, etc. can be found in the Seifu kankoobussu nado soogoo mokuroku/Comprehensive catalogue of government publications, etc.43 which is published annually. If, however, one would like to receive news on such publications earlier one would have to obtain the monthly periodical Gekkan seifu kankoobutsu/Government publications monthly42 which lists the latest publications. Since such publications are often made in small numbers only it is advisable to order them as soon as they come on sale.

4. For learned societies there exists the Zenkoku gakkyookai sooran/Directory of the learned societies of Japan29 which lists most of Japan's learned societies with data on their location, representatives, international affiliations, activities, publications. Many of these learned societies publish documents or periodicals in English and accept foreign membership, which is rarely made use of by European specialists.

5. There are lots of different kinds of directories and handbooks on information sources in Japan. One is even available in English: Directory of information sources in Japan 1980.14 Another one provides even the addresses of the specialists for very specific matters: Joohoogen/Information sources.20 It lists more than 450 individual specialists and probably about 4,500 institutional information sources of all kinds classified under thirteen headings ranging from people's lives to information sources on spedal qualifications.

One can dare to say that similar basic information tools exist in other fields of knowledge, too.

Information on the present and future development in the field of information

Above a small insight was given as to which tools exist to obtain the information on information. There are of course many more such reference tools on information sources. In the following I shall concentrate on the present and future development of information.

Very important for the understanding of the temporary and future development of Japan are the white papers issued by ministries and government agencies. 1977 saw about sixty-five titles (five of which are in English — actually only thirty are 'real' white papers) rising to about eighty titles in 1980. This increase is no doubt an indicator of a more complex and complicated social and political scene. About half of those white papers are really of importance and ought to be studied carefully by the West. Why? Unlike white papers in those countries, these do not represent a state-of-the-art report, but reflect the consensus between the leading political and economic forces on how to proceed in the future. They are guidelines, to which large companies, banks, government institutions on all levels adopt their policies.

Every white paper is followed by at least a dozen publications issued by different institutions, explaining their contents in detail to people of different backgrounds. A high percentage of these follow-up publications explain the most urgent problems and their probable (or most desirable) solutions. The next highest percentage deals with future developments and visions, which seem to be science fiction to us — but make people in Japan familiar with the future.

In the annexes to the 'White Paper on science and technology'17 you can find the following information:

Annex 15: Special research programmes of ministries and other governmental institutions in budget year 1980 (pp. 3571.)

Annex 16: Big science programmes and R and D programmes of ministries and other governmental institutions as well as their budget for these purposes (pp. 373f.)

Annex 17: Research themes, to which funds were allocated and the amount of assistance granted (p. 383)

In the Annex to the Annual Report of the Science and Technology Agency (STA) Kagaku Gijutsu-Choo nenpoo 24/Annual Report 24 of the Science and Technology Agency, 1980,15 one can find a table on special research projects together with financial details, etc. Besides that there is an overview on the most important new laws, regulations and other legal provisions concerning the field of information in Japan.

The 'vision' of MITI as regards the future of information in Japan can be studied among others in the following publications:

The latter provides the general public with a more popularized (at least by means of layout and illustrations) version of the above vision. All these three publications are mainly based on a very thorough study (partly drawn from a Delphy type survey) carried out during the years 1970–71 and in a second phase 1974–76. The study was accompanied by extensive discussions in all groups of society, which are of relevance to the process of 'informatization'.19

Information available in English from Japan

The above-mentioned sources are all written in Japanese — at least in their full version. During the last years an increase in the number of translations of such documents aiming at informing foreign countries can be observed. However, in almost all cases these 'translations' prove to be only a summary of the Japanese original and therefore contain only a small portion of the actual information available in Japanese. Especially MITI excels in the number of English publications. One could say: 'The more such publications — the better'. However, what is the tendency behind this development? Since there is a high demand for information in English on Japan in the West, the production of such material causes considerable costs and since Europe is not ready to take the effort to find access to all this information, Japan is gradually developing a new market for English publications on modern Japan. Because of cost involved and other factors this information cannot but be selective and selected from a Japanese viewpoint.

On the other hand there are strong pressures to increase such 'translated' information geared to foreign countries. These demands meet with the need of the Japanese society for translations from more or less all languages of the world. A survey conducted among 850 institutions and organizations mainly handling specialized translations reveals an annual output of ten million translated pages by those 142 bodies, which returned the questionnaires.28 Among this volume of translations, 48 per cent were translations into Japanese — including 26 per cent translations from English. These figures clearly indicate the reasons why Japan is so keen on automatic translation systems at present.

If Europe does not make the effort to find ways and means for an access to Japanese information itself, it might become dependent on translations Japan, which are promising to become a billion dollar business in the near future. Apart from that Europe would lose the status of an equal partner to Japanvat least in Japanese eyes.

In the light of foreign protests, accusations and demands concerning an 'opening' of hidden information Japan has recently if reluctantly shown intentions to establish a system of PR or cultural institutions like the British Council of the UK or the 'Institut francais' of France. Such institutions for cultural exchange, however, will only meet with success, if Europe is ready and able to try and understand and select what Japan can offer. Instead Europe and the US are pushing Japan into a direction which might turn out to become a technological boomerang for themselves.

Japanese efforts have to be especially appreciated in the light of some largely recognized facts. The Japanese language poses immense problems to an internationalization of Japanese information. Because of the pre-eminence of information on foreign literature and some English language input of Japanese information only very little information on Japanese scientific literature finds its way into Western information services. On the one hand there are still a lot of technical and other difficulties to be overcome in order to analyze Japanese literature without dropping important documents and to input these data in Japanese in Japan itself. On the other hand a complete transformation into English language databases, which address the world at large as a target market, meets with next to unsurmountable difficulties — although the necessity to contribute to the world's knowledge with Japanese information is recognized. Ultimate hope for a solution of this problem requires government assistance and co-ordination in the light of similar examples in the West (e.g. INSPEC).41 There are obviously various internal and external 'push-and-pull factors' to develop automatic translation systems of different levels of sophistication and for various applications.

European efforts to overcome misunderstanding between Europe and Japan

Language barriers actually are a complex combination of various communication obstacles between peoples with different cultural and political heritages. In the history of the relations between Japan and the West a pattern of mutual misunderstanding has emerged, which is not at all easy to overcome on both sides.40 It seems, however, that particularly Europe is caught in traditional misconceptions and prejudice (some positive, some negative — but ignorance prevails). In the light of the present state of affairs it is necessary to point out possible remedies to this situation. The vicious circle in the misunderstanding and the mismatch between Western and Japanese thinking and behaviour can only be interrupted by broader scale efforts on the Western side to explore the 'Japanese phenomenon'. Therefore, the training of many specialists of different fields through fast and efficient courses in Japanese for special purposes (JSP) would be most appropriate. At the same time the promotion of contacts with Japan would increase individual motivation. After some years of broadened contacts the 'Japanese Phenomenon' would not be enigmatic any longer.

At a few places there are successful efforts as regards a solution of the problems of the 'language barrier'. May I only point out the intensive courses for JSP at the University of Sheffield under Jiri Jelinek and a project underway at the Technical University of Vienna under Dr Emmerich Simoncsics. The former provides the tools for intensive and fast language learning. The latter should be introduced in further detail, since it provides for a unique solution to finding access to information written in Japanese — without necessarily knowing very much of the language from a linguistic point of view.

Computer-aided terminological retrieval system for specialized Japanese vocabulary

The European scientist, technician or specialist of any other field finds difficulties in learning spoken Japanese and its system of writing. Of course everybody can converse in Japanese quite well after a few months of intensive training in Japanese conversation. However, one is blocked from the main bulk of information, which is available in written form. On the other hand only the specialists for Japanese studies have the time and can afford to learn those more than two thousand Chinese characters (kanji) together with at least two pronunciations (a Sino-Japanese onyomi and a Japanese kunyomi pronunciation) each.

In the following figure the basic problematic is illustrated:

Fig. 1

[Scanned Image No. 1]

Some Chinese characters have more than five different regular pronunciations (and meanings) and nearly all have irregular pronunciations to be used in proper names or special applications. If a Japanologist has mastered all these difficulties — a task of at least two or three years — he is not yet able to understand and probably translate highly technical texts. In the whole volume of necessary translations, however, the portion of technical or other highly specialized text is approximately 80 per cent with a tendency to increase following scientific-technical progress. In this way the Japanese writing system is the natural barrier for knowledge and technology transfer working to the disadvantage of European our case. Who would blame Japan for its language or writing system(?!) — especially since these have produced some of the finest pieces of world literature?

The above mentioned system provides access to the meaning of technical terms via a coding system for the characters, which is based on logics and aesthetics — taking into account certain traits of the historical development of the Chinese characters. Coding rules are very limited, so that they are easy to memorize both in number and as a system. They were formulated according to rules of human pattern recognition, which is by far more powerful than any electronic pattern recognition device.

Fig. 2

[Scanned Image No. 2]

By using a code (primary, secondary and if necessary tertiary code) the whole term, components of it or even the individual characters can be retrieved if they are stored in the system. The system allows retrieving Japanese terminology faster than a Japanese specialist could look it up in a dictionary of his specialized field. Up to 80 per cent of a scientific-technical text consists of technical terms bound together by a grammar, which is much less sophisticated than that of common language. Thus the specialist can find access to Japanese information of his field of endeavours within a few weeks or months without necessarily having to learn the intricacies of Japanese grammar and the confusing conventions of pronunciation.

It is my firm conviction that Europe has to solve its problems with the language barriers with respect to Japan itself. Only if the West creates a situation which is favourable towards producing a few thousand specialists in many fields who are interested in Japanese information and motivated to undergo the efforts of trying to access it, and who are given the respective tools so that they become capable of doing this with efficiency, ease and relatively high-speed, can Europe expect to remain an equal partner in the knowledge and technology transfer with Japan. Europe would then of course have access to an abundance of information from Japan in Japanese and would gradually develop a 'normal' attitude towards this country — i.e. without the myth, the prejudice (whether positive or negative) and the inferiority/ superiority complexes.


There are several indicators for the credible 'futurologist' assumption that Japan will become a giant in I and D. The 'informatization' of society is a well-accepted outlook for the future — not only the idealistic view of a few politicians and information specialists. Much of the Information Network System (INS) introduced in 1981 by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corp (NTT), which shall revolutionize data communications through extensive application of optical fibres and very-large-scale-integration (VLSI) semi-conductor technology, will be implemented by the middle of this decade already. Transmission costs will likely be one-hundredth of current costs.10 At the same time, prices of terminal equipment are declining radically although capacity, functions and general sophistication are improving continuously. The office automation boom is but one reflection of this phenomenon.2

Perhaps thanks to Japan's industrial policy and definitely because of the efforts of its people and industry the balance of technology transfer has been positive with the West since about 1978 (ref. 12, ref. 16, p. 215). In the field of information transfer Japan will stay a net importer of information until about the end of the eighties due to specific development trends as stated above. Then the main stream of information could well be directed towards foreign countries in various languages, containing only a minor portion of information in Japanese.

In one of its latest white papers37 the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) defined the Japanese role in supporting the sustained growth of world economy as follows:

  1. maintain and strengthen the free trade philosophy
  2. foster measures to increase domestic demand
  3. achieve a smooth adjustment of the industry
  4. increase international co-operation for research and development (R and D) in so-called new frontier technologies

These ideas show a global approach to the world problems (which hopefully is not only lip-service), a high sense of responsibility for world development and the readiness to cooperate. It could contribute considerably towards the solution of problems in the relations with Japan, if this new approach met with less suspicion and negative reactions, and with more understanding for the specific Japanese conditions. I am convinced that Europe still has the flexibility and the intelligence of its people to be influenced by abroad and to choose, what fits best for itself. In the case of Japan, Europe only has to take the effort to find out herself and for her own sake, what positive options Japan can offer for future development.


  1. AAA. The concern for steering a particularly Japanese course. Far Eastern Economic Review 120 (1983 06 16) 24: 56–61.
  2. AAA. Database services — from slow starter to high flyer. Far Eastern Economic Review 118 (1982 1203) 49: 57–60.
  3. AAA. Education — jugs to be filled, not candles to be lit. Far Eastern Economic Review 120 (1983 06 16) 24: 80–82.
  4. AAA. 80nendai no tsuushoosangyoo seisaku — Sangyoo Koozoo Shingikai tooshin [Political measures for international trade and industry in the 1980s — a report by the Industrial Structure Council]. Tokyo: 1980, 223 pp.
  5. AAA. JICST kaigai e kaaku gijutsu joohoo [JICST: scientific-technical information for abroad]. Nikkei Sangyoo Shinbun (1983 07 04).
  6. AAA. Jidoo honyaku shisutemu kaihatsu e [Towards the development of an automatic translation system]. Nikkei Sangyoo Shinbun (1982 07 14).
  7. AAA. 66ken, 21oku 4senman-en-konnendo koogiin no kaihatsu hojokin [Yen 2,140 million for 66 projects — the R and D subsidies of the Agency of Industrial Science and Technology in the current fiscal year]. Nikkan Koogyoo Shinbun (1983 06 28).
  8. ALEXANDER. C. Fighting it out — competition at home leads to success abroad. Time 122 (1983 08 01) 5: 32–35.
  9. GALINSKI. C. Information and documentation in science and technology in Japan. Journal of Information Science 5 (1982). pp. 63–77.
  10. GALINSKI. C. VLSI in Japan: the big leap forward, 1980–1981. Computer 16 (1983) 3: 14–21.
  11. GOLDEN. F. Closing the gap with the West. Time 122 (1983 08 01) 5: 52.
  12. HENRY III. W. A. The world's biggest newspaper. Time 122 (1983 08 01) 5: 51.
  13. IGUCHI. K. Joohoonoteigi to shiyoojittai [On the definition and actual application of 'joohoo'l. Joho Kanri/Journal of Information Processing and Management 24 (1981 06) 3: 194–203
  14. JAPAN SPECIAL LIBRARIES ASSOCIATION (ed.). Directory of information sources in Japan 1980. Tokyo: Nichigai Associates, Inc. 1979. 300 pp.
  15. KAGAKU GIJUTSU-CHOO/SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AGENCY (ed.). Kagaku Gijutsu-Choo nenpoo 24 — shoowa 55nen-ban [Science and Technology Agency annual report 1980]. Tokyo: Ookura-Shoo Insatsukyoku, 1980, 235 pp.
  16. KAGAKU GIJUTSU CHOO/SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AGENCY (ed.). Kagaku gijutsu hakusho 1980 (White Paper on science and technology 1980]. Tokyo: Ookura-Shoo Insatsukyoku, 1980, 417 pp.
  17. KAGAKU GIJIJTSU-CHOO/SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AGENCY (ed). Shoowa 56nen kagaku gijutsu hakusho [White Paper on science and technology 1981]. Tokyo: Ookura-Shoo Insatsukyoku, 1981, 397 pp.
  18. IS. KAGAKU GIJUTSU-CHOO KEIKAKU-KYOKU/SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL PLANNING OFFICE (ed.). Kenkyuu kaihatsu renkei benran [Handbook of co-operation in research and development]. Tokyo: Gijutsu Kiyo Kenkyuukai, 1979, 506 pp.
  19. KAGAKUGIJUTSU-CHOO KEIKAKU-KYOIKU/SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL PLANNING OFFICE (ed.). Gijutsu yosoku hookokusho (Report on technological forecasts]. Tokyo: 1982, 631 pp.
  20. KODANSHA (ed.). Joohoogen [Information sources]. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1981, 828 pp.
  21. KOKURITSU KOKKAI TOSHOKAN/NATIONAL DIET LIBRARY (ed.). Nihon kagaku gijutsu kankei chikuji kankoobutsu mokuroku (Directory of Japanese scientific periodicals]. Tokyo: National Diet Library, 1979, 1330 pp.
  22. KONAGA. K. Industrial policy: the Japanese version of a universal trend. Journal of Japanese Trade and Industry 2 (1983) 4: 18–23.
  23. KOOGAKU SHOMOKUROKU KANKOOKAI (ed.). Joohoo keiei koogaku shomokuroku [Catalogue of books on information and management engineering]. Tokyo: Koogaku Shomokuroku Kankookai, 1982, 144 pp.
  24. MEDIA RISAACHI SENTAA KK. (ed). Zasshi shinbun sookatarogu (Periodicals in print — Vol. 1 Japan]. Tokyo: Media Risaachi Sentaa, 1979, 858 pp.
  25. MINISTRY OF EDUCATION. SCIENCE AND CULTURE (ed.). A new plan for a 'Science Information System' (SIS) in Japan. Tokyo: Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, 1980, 8 pp.
  26. MINISTRY OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND INDUSTRY (ed.). The industrial structure of Japan in the 1980s (summary) — Future outlooks and tasks. Tokyo: MITI Information Office. 1981, Background Information BI-44, 110 pp.
  27. MINISTRY OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND INDUSTRY (ed.). Vision of the small and medium enterprises and their policy direction in the 1980s. Tokyo: MITI Information Office, 1980, Background Information 131–43, 55 pp.
  28. NIHON DENSHI KOOGYOO SHINKOO KYOOKAI/JAPAN ELECTRONIC INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION (ed.). Kikai honyaku shisutemu no choosa kenkyuu [Surveys and studies on automatic translation systems]. Tokyo: Nihon Denshi Koogyoo Shinkoo Kyookai, 1982, 281 pp. publ. no. 57-C-438.
  29. NIHON GAKUJUTSU KAIGI JIMUKYOKU/EXECUTIVE OFFICE SCIENCE COUNCIL OF JAPAN (ed.). Zenkoku kyookai sooran [Directory in the learned societies of Japan]. Tokyo: Ookura-Shoo Insatsukyoku, 1981, 683 pp.
  30. NIHON KIKAKU KYOOKAI/JAPANESE STANDARDS ASSOCIATION (ed.). JIS koogyoo yoogo daijiten [JIS large dictionary of industrial terms] Tokyo: Japanese Standards Association. 1982, 1788 pp.
  32. SHUPPAN NENKAN HENSHUUBU (ed). Jiten jiten soogoo makuroku [List of dictionaries and encyclopedia]. Tokyo: Shuppan Nyuususha, 1982, 386 pp.
  33. SHUPPAN NYUUSUSHA (ed.). Shuppan nyuusu [Publication News]. (Three issues per month.)
  34. TAJIMA. D., et al. The computer software in Japan. Computer 14 (1981) 5:89–96.
  35. THARP. M. Goodbye, Japan Inc. Far Eastern Economic Review 120 (1983 05 26) 21: 84–86.
  36. TRELEAVEN. P. C., et al. Japan's fifth-generation computer systems. Computer 15 (1983) 8: 79– 88.
  37. TSUUSHOOSANGYOO-SHOO/MINISTRY OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND INDUSTRY (ed). Shoowa 58nenban tsuushoosan hakusho — sekai keizai sono jizokuteki seichoo e no jooken [White Paper on international trade and industry — world's economy: prerequisites for sustained growth]. Tokyo: Tsuushoosangyoo-Shoo. 1983.
  38. TSUUSHOOSANGYOO-SHOO KIKAI JOOHOO SANGYOO-KYOKU/MACHINERY AND INFORMATION INDUSTRIES BUREAU OF MITI (ed.). Yutaka naru joohooka shakai e no doohyoo [Roadsigns towards the prosperous informatized society]. Tokyo: Konpyuuta Eejisha/Computer Age Co., 1982, 211 pp.
  39. TSUUSHOOSANGYOO-SHOO SANGYOO KOOZOO SHINGIKAI/MITI INDUSTRIAL STRUCTURE COUNCIL (ed.). 80nendai no tsuusan seisaku bijon [Vision of international trade and industry in the 1980s]. Tokyo: Tsuushoosangyoo Kankookai, 1980, 360 pp.
  40. WILKINSON, E. Misunderstanding — Europe vs. Japan. Tokyo: Chuokoronsha, inc., 1982, 313 pp.
  41. YAMAMOTO, T., et al. Deetabeesu-sakusei, ryuutsuu, riyoojoo no kadai/Database-Problems on production, circulation and utilization. Joho Kanri [Journal of Information Processing and Management] 24 (1981 10) 7:627–650.
  42. ZENKOKU KANPOO HANBAI KYOODOO KUMIAI (ed.). Gekkan seifu kankoobutsu [Government publications monthly].
  43. ZENKOKU KANPOO HANBAI KYOODOO KUMIAI (ed.). Seifu kankoobutsu nado soogoo mokuroku [Comprehensive catalogue of government publications, etc.]. Tokyo: Zenkoku Kankoo Hanbai Kyoodo Kumiai, 1983, 258 pp.

* * *

Christian Galinski, the author of the remarkable article reproduced above, is deputy director of the International Centre for Terminology (Infoterm) in Vienna, Austria. In 1970 he graduated from the Seminar for Oriental Languages affiliated with the University of Bonn in West Germany. From 1971 to 1973 he studied the mid-19th century modernization of the Japanese school system at the invitation of the Japanese government. Since 1970 he has also been working as a consultant in the practical development of Japanese information and documentation in science and technology for various government institutions in Germany and Austria. Before joining Infoterm in 1979, he was director of a language service company and worked as a consultant specializing in economic and industrial development in Japan. Galinski is a member of many associations, including the Association for Asian Studies and the European Association for Japanese Studies. He writes that he has himself been a technical translator from Japanese and Chinese for more than ten years.

* * *


According to an article in the October 2, 1984 issue of the Nihon keizai shimbun, the National Diet Library, Japan's largest library, is suffering from a lack of stack space and also from a shortage of librarians. Because of the boom in publishing, the library's holdings now surpass 4 million volumes and are spilling out of the stacks. The catalogers are unable to keep up with the incoming floods of new books, and there is a backlog of about 100,000 uncataloged Japanese and foreign books. The shortage of stack space will be solved two years from now, when the new library annex is completed, but no increases in the staff of librarians are anticipated, thanks to the government's budget-slashing measures, and no relief is in sight for the library's desperate backlog problem.

A Flood of New Books

Japanese publishers are legally obligated to deposit copies of their books to the National Diet Library, which serves as Japan's depository for all newly published books. However, there has been an unprecedented publishing book in Japan, centering mainly in inexpensive paperbacks (which the Japanese call shinsho or bunkobon) and the numbers of books coming into the NDL have been increasing at an alarming pace. During the past two or three years, some 140,000 to 170,000 new titles have been flooding into the library every year. Last year, the library's collection surpassed the 4 million volume mark, which was the limit of the library's housing capacity, and the current holdings number some 4,038,000 volumes.

New Annex Will Solve Storage Problem but Backlog Crisis Will Remain

The NDL in 1979 began constructing an annex which will cost some ¥30 billion (roughly $122.5 million). Construction is expected to be completed two years from now, in 1986. The annex will have four floors above ground and eight basement floors. All of the basement floors will be used as stack areas and will be able to house some 7.5 million volumes. When it started to build the new annex, the NDL thought that its current stack space would be sufficient until the new building was finished, but with the ever mounting number of acquisitions its stack space reached a point of saturation in 1983. Some infrequently consulted materials have been sent for storage to a warehouse in Yokohama which the library is renting from the Ministry of Finance, and still others are boxed and stored inside the library in non-stack areas.

When the annex is completed, there will probably be enough stack space, but that will not solve the library's serious backlog problem of books waiting to be cataloged.

In 1979 the NDL had a total backlog of 27,000 Japanese and foreign books awaiting cataloging, but by 1981 the backlog had increased to 65,000 titles, and in 1983 the number had mounted still further to 100,000 titles.

33,000 of these are Japanese books, and 67,000 are foreign books. As for their subject categories, most of the uncataloged titles are said to be in the humanities and social sciences. The large preponderance of foreign books is explained by the fact that it takes catalogers longer to catalog works in foreign languages, and also the fact that the library naturally attaches more weight to eliminating its backlog of Japanese titles.

Little Hope of Solving Cataloging Delays

Ordinarily new books are cataloged and made available to readers within around three months of publication, but recently the cataloging process has taken 4–10 months. There are some titles which do not appear in the library's catalog for over one year, and many of the library's users are complaining about the delay.

The library does give priority to cataloging of titles which are highest in demand among users, but there is a strong sense of crisis among the librarians, who feel that the backlogs must not be allowed to increase any further. The mission of a public library is to disseminate culture and to serve the interests of the people, they say.

Although cataloging can be partially computerized, it is basically a labor-intensive process which does not lend itself easily to mechanization. The best way of eliminating backlogs is to increase the number of librarians. Mr. Kubota, head of the cataloging department, says that there are currently 77 catalogers but he would like to have 10 to 15 more. However, the Ministry of Finance, faced with large government deficits, is in a budget-slashing mood and has even asked the NDL to "reduce its staff." In face of this, there is no hope that the library will be able to increase its number of catalogers. In an attempt to deal with the crisis, the library has established a commission for future planning and hopes to be able to do something itself to solve the problem by revamping the structural organization of the library.

* * *


As reported in previous issue (TJT no. 19, p. 9–10), Japan Information Center of Science & Technology (JICST), Japan's largest scientific database agency, is planning to spend about 10 billion to construct a large center for scientific information at Tsukuba Science City in Ibaraki Prefecture.

An article in the October 5 issue of the Nikkei sangyō shimbun says that construction work is going to begin in 1985, with a target date for completion in 1987. The new center will house the publications on science and technology which JICST has collected from all over the world. JICST's present facilities in Tokyo will be full in 1987 and will then contain a collection of some 1,200,000 volumes of books and periodicals collected over the past 13. The new Tsukuba center will house a total of 1,300,000 volumes by the year 1991, but it will eventually house some 8 million volumes, a collection accumulated over a period of 30 years.

The Tsukuba center will provide information services for the approximately 7,000 researchers working in Tsukuba, which does not now have any general library of its own. The center, which will provide reading-room services as well as circulation and copying services, will be open 24 hours a day and will also give on-line services through computer terminals.

JICST currently follows the practice of sending out its periodicals to abstractors before it makes them available in its center. This makes it necessary for readers to wait from 2 to 9 months before they can use the periodicals in JICST's reading rooms. In the future, JICST will change its procedures and will acquire two copies of its materials, so that one copy will be available immediately upon acquisition.

* * *


J. Caponio, director of the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), was interviewed on October 17 by a reporter from the Nihon keizai shimbun and indicated that NTIS is interested in promoting further exports of Japanese scientific and technical information to the U.S. (Nikkei sangyō shimbun, October 18, 1984. See related article in TJT no. 20, p. 5–6.)

NTIS recently concluded an agreement with the Agency of Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) of MITI. Caponio said that NTIS will approach the Science and Technology Agency and research institutes belonging to other Japanese ministries in an effort to obtain technical documents from them.

When NTIS obtains the technical documents from the 16 research institutes and laboratories belonging to the AIST, NTIS will itself prepare English-language abstracts of them and put them on microfiches. The abstracts will be made available to three large database services (DIALOG, SDC and BRS) and supplied on-line to users all over the world. Users who wish to see the original texts of the reports will be able to obtain copies of them from NTIS on request.

The work of acquiring Japanese technical information from the research institutes belonging to the Science and Technology Agency (STA) has not been moving ahead as successfully as in the case of AIST, but NTIS will move ahead in its efforts to have such information supplied in an organized manner. NTIS will also approach research institutes belonging to other ministries, such as the Ship Research Institute (Ministry of Transport) and the Radio Research Laboratories (Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications).

About the work of NTIS, Caponio said that NTIS inputs annually into its database abstracts of about 70,000 technical documents which it receives from U.S. government agencies such as the Department of Commerce, the Department of Defense, NASA and the CIA. The information which it is receiving from Japan now amounts to only about 800 items, amounting to only 2% of the total. Since about 10,000 technical documents are being generated in Japan annually, the information flow from Japan is extremely limited, and NTIS wants to bring the total as soon as possible to nearly 10,000 items.

World-wide attention is being focused on Japanese technical information in fields such as semiconductors and electronics, biotechnology, optical fiber technology, and machine translation. Caponio said that NTIS does not wish to limit the information it acquires to these fields alone, but hopes to collect a broad range of information including the basic fields as well. Caponio added that Japanese research in machine translation is encouraging to NTIS, which is engaged in the difficult and costly work of translating Japanese texts into English.

The Nikkei sangyō shimbun article says that NTIS has collected more than 1,300,000 items of scientific and technical information. Sales of copies of documents run to about 20,000 items daily or more than 6 million items annually. It is also creating a database and has input about 900,000 abstracts into it since 1964.

* * *


The exact scope of Japan's translation industry is not known exactly. An association of translation companies (Nihon Honyaku Renmei) was formed four years ago, and it now has 44 members. If both member companies and non-members are included, the total number of translation companies all over Japan is estimated to be about 400. In addition, there are many individuals working in the field. In monetary terms, the translations sent out by Japanese companies to translation agencies in Japan are estimated to have an annual value of about ¥500 billion (equivalent to about $2 billion at a recent exchange rate).

An article in the Nihon keizai shimbun on October 6 describes the market for translations in Japan. It says that about half of the jobs sent out to translation agencies are translations between Japanese and English, and 80% of these are translations of technical documents having to do with exports in one way or another. The 500 billion figure quoted above does not include translations which are made in-house by the manufacturers themselves or by trading companies. If these in-house translations are included, the Japanese translation business would easily have an annual value of ¥1 trillion (roughly $4 billion) or more.

Manufacturers of machine translation systems, promising labor savings and increased speeds of translation work, are aiming at making inroads into this immense market. Although the machine translation systems are still expensive and require extensive pre- and post-editing, they can claim to have one advantage: speed. For example, it is claimed that translations from English to Japanese can be done with a large mainframe computer at rates of 20,000–60,000 per hour, and that J-E translations using a minicomputer can be done at rates of 3,000 words per hour. Fujitsu claims that, even if the editing work is included, translations can be done by machine in about 40% of the time required for non-machine translations.

Machine translation systems marketed by Bravice, Hitachi and Fujitsu have only just begun to come onto the market this year, and the manufacturers have sold few of their products thus far, but other manufacturers, dazzled by the prospects of this l trillion market, are preparing to market their own systems. According to the newspaper, these other manufacturers include NEC, Toshiba; NTT and KDD. The article mentions the Systran system perfected by the European Community, which has been placed on the general market in Europe, and the Japanese-Korean system which is now being developed in Korea with the assistance of Fujitsu.

The article concludes by saying that computer technology has begun to challenge the worldwide language barrier.

* * *


Donald L. Philippi

As we saw in the last issue, Japan's software industry is now roughly one-sixth the size of the American industry and is plagued by a chronic shortage of personnel. In this installment, I want to explore further what measures are being implemented by the industry in order to deal with its crisis and also to discuss what effects the crisis is having on the quality of Japanese-made software. Software could well turn out to be the "Achilles' heel" of the entire Japanese computer industry.

Biggest Need is for System Engineers

Ichirō Tanizawa, president of the Japan Information Services Association (JISA), an industrial association for the software houses and computer centers which was formed in June, 1984, says that the biggest need is for system engineers (SE), who make the overall designs in program development. How acute is the need for them can be judged by the results of a MITI survey which found that only about 33% of the available positions for them were filled in 1981. As of the end of 1982 there were about 20,000 of them in all of Japan. It is unclear when, if ever, the supply will catch up with the need, since it takes 5–10 years to train a highly qualified SE. (Nikkei sangyō shimbun, August 27, 1984) JISA is, incidentally, planning to establish an "information industry university" for the purpose of training specialists in software development. (Nikkei sangyō shimbun, September 3, 1984)

Big Companies Are Increasing Software Staffs

The large computer and electrical companies are working feverishly to increase their software staffs. To give an example, Fujitsu is reportedly planning to increase the total number of its software personnel to more than 10,000 sometime this year. When this goal has been reached, the software personnel will amount to about 25% of all of Fujitsu's employees. At the end of March, 1984 Fujitsu had altogether 8,500 software workers, including 5,500 system engineers and 3,000 specialists developing the basic software. The goal was to increase these numbers to 6,500 system engineers and 3,500 "basic" specialists this year. (Nikkei sangyō shimbun, February 13, 1984)

The same is being done by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, which is planning to double the number of its software employees within the next year or two. The company has six software subsidiaries, which are located in Tokyo, Itami (Hyōgo), Nagoya, Kobe, Kamakura and Amagasaki (Hyōgo). The six companies now have a total personnel of 1,500, and this number is to be increased to about 3,000. Since software work, especially that performed by system engineers, tends to require a high degree of creativity and to be highly labor-intensive, with long working hours frequently spilling over into the nighttime, the company has decided that the company's approach to software must be completely revamped, including revisions of the employment system and the salary system. To solve part of the problems, the company will introduce a flexible time system, will employ people working at home and will study methods for automating the development of application software. (Nikkan kōgyō shimbun, October 9, 1984)

Headhunters Are Busy

One way by which computer-related companies can solve their problem is by recruiting software specialists from their competitors. The headhunters have their work cut out for them. There is a system of recruiting called the "carrier bank system," in which experienced persons who are already working at one company can register their names for future employment with another company, for example when they have completed their current projects and are ready to "move on." Changing jobs no longer has the stigma it once had; in fact, software personnel regard mobility as rather glamorous (Nikkan kōgyō shimbun, October 8, 1984)

Some companies have had to take extraordinary precautions to keep their software programmers from being recruited away from them. A company called Kodensha in Osaka has established a "top secret" software section for developing software for overseas personal computers. The location and telephone number of the secret section are all being kept secret in order to protect the company personnel from the attentions of headhunters and also to keep the software being developed from leaking out to other competing firms. (Nikkan kōgyō shimbun, June 22, 1984)

Some large computer manufacturers have even begun to deal with the shortage of personnel by collaborating with each other. For example, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. joined with Fujitsu in 1983 to set up a joint software company called MF Joho System. Its purpose is to train large numbers of system engineers and to develop software for Matsushita with the collaboration of Fujitsu. Some 100 computer engineers from Matsushita will be transferred to MF for training for several years. (Nikkei sangyō shimbun, June 8, 1984)

Software Factories

The big computer manufacturers have set up what they call "software factories" (sofutouea koojoo) The first such factory was set up by Hitachi in 1969. It was a five-story building employing 3,000 programmers. Fujitsu and NEC then built smaller factories with 1,000 to 2,000 workers. Fujitsu, Hitachi and NEC, the Big Three Japanese computer manufacturers, now have ten such "software factories." (Bro Uttal, "Japan's persistent software gap", Fortune, October 15, 1984, p. 156)

Toshiba also has adopted the "software factory" system. The Fuchu Works of Toshiba has been converted into a "software factory" employing 2,000 software specialists. A production system called the "software work bench" (SWB) system is used in order to enhance the productivity. Software programs which have been developed previously are stored in a database in a host computer connected to the work benches so that they can be recovered and reused in different programs. Some 50% of the software turned out thus far by this "factory" has been produced by reutilizing software stored in the database. (Nihon keizai shimbun, July 29, 1984) Toshiba has also begun building another such "software factory" on the grounds of its computer works at me in Tokyo. This "factory" will be equipped with the very latest features such as a local area network connecting together large mainframe computers, CAD systems, Japanese-language word processors, facsimile machines, and printers. The six-floor building will be completed by October and will begin operations in December with a staff of 1,500 software workers. (Nihon keizai shimbun March 16, 1984)

Software Houses Are Turning to Offshore Operations

In previous issues, we have seen that Japanese women, and even prison inmates, are being called upon to play an active role in the software industry. However, the shortage of software manpower is so acute that the Japanese software industry has started to move overseas, especially to other countries in Asia such as South Korea and Taiwan. A Tokyo software house called Software A.G. (president Kazurō Fujimoto) was reported recently to be negotiating with a Chinese computer research institute in Shangai for a long-term contract whereby the Shanghai institute would be commissioned to develop software. General agreement has already been reached, and the negotiations are expected to be concluded sometime this year. Chinese staff members of the Shanghai institute would be dispatched to Japan for training for one or two years and would then begin full-scale development work in China. (Nihon keizai shimbun, July 18, 1984)

Another Tokyo software house called System Design Consultants (abbreviated SCON) has signed an agreement with the Computer Software Service Center in Peking to set up a joint Japanese-Chinese software company in Tokyo by February, 1985 (the Japanese side supplying 51% of the capital and the Chinese side 49%). The company will have initially 10 employees: 5 Chinese and 5 Japanese. In June 1985 it will begin to develop a Japanese-to-Chinese machine translation system and to develop personal-computer software for business applications. At the end of 1985 it will also establish a joint company in Peking, and three years later both companies will have a total of about 200 employees and will have offices in other cities such as Shanghai and Tientsin. (Nihon keizai shimbun, October 10, 1984)

Another Tokyo software house called Stella System (phonetic) has recently contracted with a software house called TSG Consultants in New Delhi to have software developed in India. TSG has 30 employees, most of whom were formerly engaged in software development at IBM in India. The Tokyo company this year has been receiving so many orders that it has been unable to fill them with its current software personnel. The personnel costs in India are one-third those in Japan, and the company believes that this may help it to keep down its software development expenses. (Nikkei sangyō shimbun, October 4, 1984) One suspects that a main component of the "software crisis" might be the unwillingness of Japanese companies to pay Japanese software workers wages which are comparable to those which are paid to similar workers in the U.S. and other countries. This would explain their eagerness to hire "cheap labor" in countries like China and India.

Surprisingly, there is even a rather uncharacteristic move towards hiring highly-paid American personnel on a small scale. A Tokyo systems house called Digital Computer has put up recruiting posters on American college campuses in an attempt to hire American college graduates. The posters seem to have had some response, and the company president recently went to the U.S. to interview the students. (Nikkei sangyō shimbun, October 16, 1984) A Tokyo company called NIC, which specializes in information-processing systems, has decided to hire four recent graduates of the Electrical Engineering Department of Brigham Young University (Utah). Three of them are American citizens, and one is Brazilian. They all know some Japanese and will work at developing software related to informationprocessing systems. The four will each be paid annual salaries of ¥4,000,000 (roughly $16,260), which is said to be about twice the average annual starting salary paid to a Japanese university graduate. (Nikkei sangyō shimbun, August 18, 1984) If this is true, and if my calculations are correct, the average monthly wage paid to a Japanese university graduate at the entry level (first year after graduation) would be roughly $677. (No comment.)

What About Quality of Japanese Software

Overseas authorities have written approvingly, and I think a little gullibly, about the quality of Japanese-made software. They point to the fact that the "total quality control" movement has been implemented in a large sector of the Japanese software industry. Yukio Mizuno, a managing director of NEC, is credited with having introduced quality circles in April, 1981. After meeting with considerable resistance, he finally persuaded most of the programmers to participate in them. Today 8,000 of NEC's 10,000 software workers are participating in 1,000 QC circles. (Trigger, November 1984, p. 43–46) David Cole, chairman of Ashton-Tate, has been quoted as saying that "Japanese programs are ten times more reliable than what we have here," and much of this success is perceived to be attributable to the debugging made possible by the quality control circles. (Uttal, Fortune, October 15, 1984)

Christian Galinski even goes so far as to predict that "Japanese software producers will corner the market by '100 per cent quality control' in software." He says that "the attitude in Japan is that software produced by professionals should have no bugs, since bugs are defects in the product." (see p. 11, this issue)

Be that as it may, I think that there are grounds for skepticism. If the shortage of manpower in the Japanese software industry is as desperate as has been reported in the Japanese business press (and if the software workers are being paid wages as low as I suspect they are), we would be wise to take these adulatory statements with a grain or two of salt. There is some evidence that Japanese users are not always satisfied with the quality of their software. The computer magazine Nikkei kompyuuta made a survey of 461 companies using mainframe computers and asked them for their views about quality control of the software they were using. (I presume the software being used is made in Japan.) 28.6% of them replied that they had experienced in the past "serious troubles" due to lack of thoroughness in software quality control, and 43.5% of them expected such troubles to increase in the future. 93% of them said that they thought that current quality control levels were inadequate, and 44% of them replied that they were not at the present time using any methods of quality control in their own software development. The computer users who had no quality controls were asked why not; 55.3% of them said that it was because they were kept so busy developing new programs that they had no reserves of strength (yoryoku ga nai) to do any quality controls at all. The results indicated that Japanese computer users are seriously worried about the quality of their software, which is said ominously to be the "Achille's heel" of the information society. (Nikkei sangyō shimbun, September 28, 1984)

If the shortages of manpower in Japan are driving Japanese software departments and companies to resort to desperate measures such as raiding each other's personnel, organizing the work in highly automated "software factories" on the mass-production principle, overworking their software workers and paying them quite low wages, and expanding their operations to countries like China and India with even cheaper labor costs, I would assi'me that this situation would inevitably have a deleterious effect on the quality of the software being produced by the harried Japanese software programmers.

In spite of the optimistic statements to the contrary, I suspect that software quality may be the potential Achille's heel for Japan's entire computer industry.

* * *


A Report on the 1984 ATA Convention Activities by Carl Kay

Since the 1982 convention in Washington, D.C., when thanks to the efforts of Don Gorham a pair of sessions about Japanese translating were included in the convention schedule, there has been a growing effort on the part of the Japanese translators in the ATA to define and work towards common goals. Each year the group has become larger, more dynamic, and more sure of where it's heading. At the 1984 convention, this trend continued.

The Japanese translators specialized interest group met on Wednesday, September 19th. Despite a misprint in the convention schedule, which listed the meeting at both 3 PM and 4 PM, over twenty-five practicing or aspiring Japanese translators met for 2½ hours. Several important areas of discussion emerged, and plans of action were developed in each area. A strong interest was expressed in creating a Japanese-to-English accreditation test. Some concerns were voiced about how difficult the test should be, how technical or general the content should be, and who would assemble and/or grade the tests. A decision was made that Hisashi Kubota (of Oak Ridge, Tennessee) and 4 others would assemble a "trial-run" test to be sent to anyone on the Japanese translator's mailing list collected during the convention (to be added to the list write to: Carl Kay, c/o Japanese Language Services, 45 Putnam Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139) a few months before the Miami convention next year. Translators will take this test on their own under an honor system and return the test to the graders. At the Miami convention, an open session will be devoted to a discussion of the trial test results, and based on the test results and discussion in Miami, plans to create an official accreditation test will be put into motion. We hope that by January, 1986 there will be ATA-accredited Japanese-English translators.

Ron Jones of Yokohama, Japan, will be sending a questionnaire regarding rates to all those on the mailing list or to anyone writing to me (soon!) at the address given above. All those who respond to this (anonymous) survey will receive a detailed analysis of the findings regarding rates charged in various situations, and a summary will be reported here by this correspondent.

Drew Dillon of New Haven will be compiling a directory of Japanese translators for circulation among translators as well as to potential users of Japanese translation services. It is not decided yet whether non-ATA translators will be included. The group seemed to lean towards such inclusion in order to broaden the list's scope and also to attract new members to our group and thus to ATA. To be listed, write to Drew at 470 Prospect Street, #35, New Haven, CT 06511.

Tom Satoh of Austin, Texas, will be working to develop an information sheet to be given by any Japanese translator to current or potential clients. Content of this information sheet will include information about the Japanese language and the process of Japanese translating, as well as a possible list of responsibilities of the client and the translator.

The last issue raised was communication of our group with the ATA membership and officers. We decided that regular contributions by this correspondent to the chronicle will be the primary vehicle for this communication.

No official Japanese-related sessions were scheduled on Thursday or Friday of the convention, though some informal meeting did take place. On Friday the Fujitsu "My Oasis" Japanese word processing system was demonstrated to our group in the exhibits hall and the Kinokuniya Japanese bookstore Dooth also drew many visitors.

On Saturday morning Hisashi Kubota led a session on Japanese technical translation, followed by Don Gorham's session on general information for Japanese translators regarding government and private sector work as well as reference works. These sessions are fairly well summarized in the Proceedings (pp. 195–204) and will not be repeated here. All ATA members are urged to read those summaries to learn more about Japanese translation.

We hope to have six Japanese sessions next year, clustered on two or three days to accommodate tight schedules. These include: 1) meeting of interest group; 2) problem-solving session led by Hisashi Kubota and David Jones; 3) presentation by Don Gorham (perhaps regarding Japanese word processing systems) ; 4) presentation by Carl Kay (topic yet undecided) ; 5) review of trial accreditation test results; 6) discussion of results of rates survey and issues of relations with translation agencies. There is some possibility that agency owners and managers who don't speak Japanese but who are involved in handling Japanese work will be invited to attend.

Thanks to all for a fine convention. I will be reporting any Japanese translation news in upcoming issues of the Chronicle. We look forward to Miami!

* * *


A survey of the translation industry was recently conducted by The Corporate Word, a Pittsburgh-base translation company. It found that the industry shows all the signs of being an industry in transition. Most of the companies are less than six years old, nearly 90% of them having been founded since 1970. "Translating companies are popping up like mushrooms," said Gregory Zaretsky, president of The Corporate Word.

900 translating companies were contacted, and about 100 of them responded to the survey. They reported having an average of only three fulltime workers and about 22 part-time employees. The vast majority of the firms provided Spanish, and most also offered French. More than half offered French and German, and about 50% provided translators for Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Russian. More than a third said they had translators skilled in Korean, Farsi, Persian and sign language for the deaf.

According to Zaretsky, the infant industry may be due for a shake-up soon as computerized translations become more sophisticated. For instance, The Corporate Word is developing a system by which documents can be phoned into a computer, translated, and then edited by a native speaker. (UPI dispatch, San Francisco Examiner, October 1, 1984. Thanks to Paula Doe for sending me the clipping.)

* * *


Fujitsu FIP (Shinbashi 6-1-11, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 03-433-2251, president Heiji Nakida) has announced that it will start up an on-line service for machine translation of Japanese to English and vice versa. The system will make use of the ATLAS-I and ATLAS-II machine translation systems (see TJT no. 20, p. 2) by means of a Fujitsu on-line network called FIP-NET and will become operative all over Japan in November. This system make become the centerpiece of the large-scale VAN (value-added network) which Fujitsu is now operating.

The software for the two ATLAS systems will be housed in the host computer at the computer center of FIP-NET in Kamata, Tokyo. Users will use Fujitsu Japanese-language information-system terminals or personal computers (such as the FM-11) to input Japanese or English texts. They will be sent to the computer center via a modem for translation.

The service is aimed mainly at scientific and technical translations. Short texts can be translated by the interactive system and the translations displayed immediately on the user's screen. Longer texts will be processed by the remote batch system, and the translations mailed back to the user. User-specific dictionaries can be incorporated into the host computer. Service for ATLAS-I for E-J will begin in November, and service for ATLAS-II for J-E in June, 1985.

Fujitsu FIP has far-reaching plans for expanding this service into a total system service including document processing (ODM, or "office document manager") and information retrieval (FAITS-1). It aims to provide such service on the world market and is studying overseas electronic mail and an overseas database business centering on translation.

FIP-NET is a large-scale network having access points at over 20 locations all over Japan, and Fujitsu is now planning a large-scale VAN which will work with this FIP-NET. (Nikkan kōgyō shimbun, October 15, 1984)

* * *


Hitachi, Ltd. announced on October 9 that it has successfully developed a Japanese-to-English machine translation system for translating scientific and technical documents, explanatory manuals for products, etc. The system, which is called ATHENE/N, can be used on the operating system of Hitachi's HITAC M series of mainframe computers. If the system is housed in the HITAC M0280H, a very large mainframe computer, it can translate about 60,000 words per hour. Hitachi has already developed an E-J machine translation system for economics and delivered it for experimental use to the Quotation Information Center K.K. (see TJT, no. 20, p. 2–3). This system will be Hitachi's first J-E translation system, and the system will inevitably be compared with Fujitsu's mainframe-based ATLAS system (see TJT, no. 20, p. 2).

In addition to using the terminals for the Hitachi M series, the system can also use Hitachi word processors, so that documents already entered in word-processor files can be translated. Word processors can also be used for the pre-editing and post-editing.

The system can also be used for translating English into Japanese. In the latter case, the translation speed is claimed to be about 70,000 to 80,000 words per hour. The dictionary contains about 10,000 words including both basic and technical vocabulary. Hitachi aims at increasing the number to 30,000 before the end of 1984 and to 90,000 by September, 1985. The system will be tested in-house before it is commercially marketed. No marketing date was mentioned. (Nikkan kōgyō shimbun, October 10, 1984; Nikkei sangyō shimbun, October 11, 1984)

* * *


The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications has decided to try to develop machine-translation telephone service. Current plans are to complete the master plan by the end of March, 1985 and to develop a prototype system over the following five-year period, leading to development of a practical system 10 years from now. (Nikkan kōgyō shimbun, October 11, 1984)

* * *


The Second Infoterm Symposium, entitled "Networking in Terminology," will be held in Vienna on April 14–17, 1985. According to the brochure, the Symposium will aim "at the requirements and know-how of subject specialists who are involved in terminology work. Terminology science, however, and related fields of pure and applied science will be duly represented, too. Experts from all fields, in particular, representatives of international scientific and technical associations active in terminology, specialized language mediators, scientific editors, etc. are called upon to point out terminological problems and their solutions as well as to report on co-operative actions to overcome specific problems and to meet terminological needs."

Sessions will include:

During the Symposium a demonstration of terminological data banks will be organized, where participants can query the different banks. Workshops on terminology documentation will also be held.

* * *

CALICO '85 — JANUARY 29–31 1985

A meeting which might be of interest to readers in the Baltimore area will be the CALICO '85 conference to be held on January 29–31, 1985 in Baltimore, Maryland. CALICO stands for Computer-Assisted Language Instruction Consortium. Although most of the sessions will deal with the use of computers in language teaching, there are some which will concentrate on topics of interest to translators. For example, there will be sessions dealing with "Multilingual and Technical Word Processing Tools," "Foreign Language Character Font Generation on Microcomputers," "Machine Assisted Translation at ALPS," "Machine Assisted Translation at Weidner," "Dot Matrix Printing Foreign Texts," "Language Instruction and Artificial Intelligence," "Language Processing in Artificial Intelligence," and "Japanese CAI on Videodisc." J. Becker will give a session on "Multilingual Word Processing on Xerox Star."

Information can be obtained by writing to:

3078 JKHB
Brigham Young University
Provo, Utah 84602

Thanks to Bernard Susser of Osaka for sending me the information about CALICO '85.

* * *


According to the October 1984 issue of the ATA Chronicle, The USSR Centre for Translation of Scientific and Technical Literature and Documentation calls for submission of papers at its 1985 international conference on the above subject. The conference will be held in Moscow for five days in December 1985. For further information contact:

The USSR Centre for Translation (VCP)
NTP-85 Organizing Committee
Krzhizhanovskogo 14, block 1
Moscow, 117218, USSR

* * *


Japan Information Center for Science and Technology (JICST) announced that it would hold its "21st research meeting on information science and technology" on October 23–24 at the Zenkyoren Building in Hirakawa-cho in Tokyo. The meeting would feature a special lecture by Mr. Makoto Kikuchi, director of the Sony Central Research Institute, entitled "Information and Knowledge — Embryonic Moves Leading to the 21st Century." Specialized sessions were to be devoted to topics such as database creation, databases of chemical compounds, notation standards, database evaluation, translation systems, control of patent information, language processing, and information services. There was to be a panel discussion on the topic: "What to do about construction and supplying of international databases." (Nikkan kōgyō shimbun, October 2, 1984)

* * *


The Japan Economic Journal, an English-language weekly newspaper published by the Nihon keizai shimbun has published a book called High-tech start-up ventures in Japan; an index to 500 select companies. The book is to become available around mid-October 1984. The price in the U.S.A. is $149.50 including postage from New York. The price in Japan is ¥38,000. The book can be ordered in North America from UNIPUB, P.O. Box 1222, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106 (tel. 800-521-8110). From other areas order from The Japan Economic Journal, 9-5 Otemachi 1-chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100, Japan (tel. 03-256-2266).

There is a similar directory for the U.S. called Directory of public high technology corporations 1984–85 (2nd edition). It contains profiles of 1660 publicly listed companies in 21 sectors. Available for $125 from American Investor, 1627 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA 19103 (tel. 215-732-5350). Quarterly updates are $75 per year.

Nichiei bukkyoogo jiten is a Japanese-English dictionary of 5,000 Buddhist terms which appear in classical Japanese literature. It was compiled by Hisao Inagaki with the collaboration of P.G. O'Neill. 500 pages, 7,500. Published by Nagata Bunshoodoo (Hanayacho Nishi no Toin Nishi, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi 600, tel. 075-371-6651).

Gendai Heburai-go jiten is the first Hebrew-Japanese dictionary. It contains about 17,000 words and was compiled by a Japanese Bible academy. Both modern Israeli Hebrew and Biblical terms are included. 664 pages, ¥5,500. Published by Kirisuto Seisho-juku (Tamazutsumi 1-20-1, Setagayaku, Tokyo 158, tel. 03-705-1211).

Ron Granich of Kyoto reports that he has been using a dictionary titled Suidoo yoogo jiten Eiwa-Waei [Dictionary of water management and engineering], compiled by Yasuhiko Kobayashi and published by Suidoo Sangyoo Shimbun Sha (colophon page with address, etc. was missing). "It's been absolutely wonderful... it's more than just a list of words. It also lists related terms and sometimes, full-sentence examples."

Ron also recommends the following ergonometrics dictionary which he found in a used bookstore. Ningen koogaku jiten published by Nikkan Koogyoo Shimbun Sha, 1st edition November 1983. "It lists approximately 5,000 terms in a J-E and E-J indexed list of definitions. In addition, it has 387 pages of detailed explanations (in Japanese) with the terms highlighted in bold print with their English equivalent. Also included are numerous diagrams and illustrations."

Japanese National Government Publications in the Library of Congress: A Bibliography, compiled by Thaddeus Y. Ohta, Japanese Section. Contains 3,376 title entries, including some 350 bilingual or English documents. Most of the publications listed are serials, but other types are also included, such as catalogs, directories, guidebooks, handbooks, statistical surveys, census reports, white papers, and monographic series. Entries are arranged under four major divisions: legislative branch, executive branch, judicial branch, and public corporations and research institutes. Appendixes list agencies, ministries, councils, commissions, committees, laboratories, museums, libraries, public corporations, and research institutes arranged in alphabetical order by their English names, followed by their romanized Japanese names. Two title indexes are provided — one of the romanized Japanese titles and the other of the non-Japanese titles in their official English form. Clothbound, xii + 407 pp, 1981. $15.00. Thanks again to Ron Granich for the information on this bibliography.

* * *


Linda Moffett

I recently read your article on translation agencies that do not pay. I lost money for a completed job and would like to give some advice to fellow translators so that this will not happen to them.

First of all, I want to restate what you (Donald) previously mentioned about calling other translators for recommendations before working for a new agency. Had I done this in the first place, I would never have worked for a certain agency and would not have lost money. If you cannot find a translator in the directory that has heard of the agency, tell the agency that you need a name of another free-lance translator as a reference before you will agree to do any work. You might even ask for advance payment on the first job if you cannot find any references.

I would also recommend that you tell the agency that no more work will be done until you receive payment for the first job you did, even if it's an emergency, someone's life depends on it, or whatever; if it is that important, they should be willing to pay for your first job.

Also, do not sign anything that says that you agree to wait to be paid until the agency has been paid by its customer. If they ask you to do something like this, it indicates that they may have so-called cash flow problems. I would be very skeptical in this case.

I also heard from other translators of agencies who send work out and then refuse to pay saying "oh, you weren't to translate the article, we only wanted an estimate." or "So-and-so did not have the authority to ask you to do this job and it just so happens that we never wanted it done." I would ask new clients for something in writing, a letter or contract, asking you to do the job and agreeing to pay within a certain period of time in order to avoid these problems.

I am not implying by this article that all agencies are not to be trusted. On the contrary, most agencies I have worked with are very reputable and pleasant to work with. However, it's sad, but true, that there are some "shady agencies" that should be avoided until they change their business practices and treat their translators fairly.

* * *


John Y. Hung

It has been wonderful to hear from many friends and to have made contacts through TJT. I like to put in a few comments about my feeling toward our newsletter. I really enjoy DLP's effort to make us better translators, and very useful tips given by many in the issues.

I like to add some comments on the matter of whether one should be a generalist or a specialist. For a relatively new translator, like myself, it is much better to specialize. This will cut down tremendously the time one spends on looking up words in dictionaries. Earlier this year, I approached an organization for translation work, and I was given 40 pages of material to translate from Chinese and Japanese, more or less like from A to Z. I had to spend a great deal of time on dictionaries as well as going to libraries to read about the reference material so that I would get the terms correctly. I have similar experience recently with some assignments. It is, of course, a great fun to learn something exotic and stimulating each time. The question is: Can a beginner afford the time?

My next question is related to the source of J-E dictionaries. Not too many of us can afford to have the kind of libraries that DLP or Carl Kay have. Also, one has to stay in one place to use the huge dictionaries such as those of Interpress (which I don't have). Does any one have any information on the availability of technical J-E dictionaries in microfiche form? Some of the voluminous documents published by the government and commercial concerns are in microfiches and they cost only a fraction of those printed on paper. If there are such microfiches, an investment of $100 for a used "fiche reader" will offset the costs of buying paper volumes, not to mention the saving on the required storage space. A used portable "fiche reader" costs about $150. Also, how does one order books from Japan, and how are payments made, in certified check in dollars or yens?

I have been contacted recently by an organization, the employee saw my name in the TJT directory. I think that it would be nice if we can organize the TJT readership into an association of sort, then the politicking for our craft would be a lot more identifiable. We don't need to have such activities as the ATA, I have got a lot more out of subscribing TJT. Also, the potential clients can also put up notices, if not "ads", about jobs, etc.

* * *


Martin Roth (Tokyo)

I would like to say how much I enjoy all the information you cram into each issue of the newsletter, and I hope that you will be able to keep it going. It undoubtedly serves a need.

In fact, the newsletter has even made me want to have another go at becoming a technical translator.

Last year I decided that after seven years in Japan, first as an English teacher, later as a journalist, my Japanese was good enough to enter the lucrative translation business. (I had in fact already been doing part-time work at Kyodo News Service for a few years, translating and rewriting Japanese news reports into English.)

I made contact with a number of agencies who gave me some work to do at home. I knew it would be hard, but I was prepared to put in the time as an investment for future riches. In fact it turned out to be harder than I expected, and there were many times when numerous dictionaries and a Japanese wife could not work out the meaning.

But worse than that was the incredible boredom of it all. I hope this doesn't sound snobbish, but I just could not work up any interest in all the arcane technical and business matters I was asked to put into English. I enjoy working by myself at home, and thought translating would be the ideal work, but after six frustrating months I gave it all up and went back to freelance journalism and my job at Kyodo.

So your newsletter, as well as being most interesting, serves to reassure me that there are others out there who don't always find it easy. As I said, I am tempted to try again, though this time I might try and specialize in something not too technical, and I'll work myself in gradually, rather than throwing myself in at the deep end as I did before.

* * *


Jardine Fleming, an international investment bank, is looking for Japanese-speaking financial analysts to join its Tokyo-based research team. Candidates must be able to communicate freely in both English and Japanese and to have a good understand of finance and accounting. Applications to: D.W.J. Garrett, President, Robert Fleming Inc., 630 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10021 (212) 265-6700.

* * *


The editor received a letter dated October 12, 1984 from R. U. Churchill of International Chemical Engineering, a quarterly journal of translations published by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. The letter begins with the question: "Are you interested in doing translations from Japanese to English in the field of chemical engineering? Most of the papers we publish in International Chemical Engineering .... originate from Kagaku Kogaku Ronbunshu which is published by The Society of Chemical Engineers, Japan." A typical article in Japanese was enclosed as an example. The article was highly technical and would, in my opinion, present some difficulties even for the most experienced translator.

Concerning the rates,the letter continued: "At the moment the AIChE pays $36.00/thousand English words. This rate will increase slightly next year."

In my reply I informed Mr. Churchill about the existence of this newsletter and suggested that he read it, since he obviously was not well-informed about the current state of the translation industry. In my letter I pointed out that the median rate being paid to J-E translators is about $50/1,000 English words, that less qualified translators or beginners might sometimes accept assignments for $40 or less, but that experienced, well-qualified translators can ask for and get $60 or $80 for jobs with normal delivery, and more for rush jobs.

I am sure that many readers of this newsletter are receiving similar letters from Mr. Churchill and others, some of them through the exposure which they are getting in the Directory, but I strongly urge all readers above the novice level to refuse any job offers at rates which they consider to be beneath the current market rates.

Address letters of protest to:

R. U. Churchill
P.O. Box 627
Media, PA 19063

* * *


I finally got around to making a survey of the number and distribution of the readers of the newsletter. It seemed to me that this would give us some inkling about the world-wide distribution of J-E translators. The survey was made on October 9, and there have been a few changes since then. Anyway, here are the results.

U.S.A. 100
California 36
New York 10
Pennsylvania 6
New Jersey 5
Texas 4
Virginia 4
Connecticut 4
Hawaii 3
Maryland 3
Massachusetts 3
Washington 3
Washington, D.C. 3
Wisconsin 3
Colorado 2
Illinois 2
Iowa 2
Arizona 1
Michigan 1
North Carolina 1
Ohio 1
Tennessee 1
Tokyo 43
Yokohama 7
Nagoya 7
Kyoto 5
Osaka 3
Saitama-ken 3
Kanagawa-ken 2
Aichi-ken 3
Nagano-ken 2
Hyogo-ken 2
Niigata-ken 1
Shizuoka-ken 1
Hiroshima-ken 1
Fukuoka-ken 1
U.K. 8
World-wide total 193

The following conclusions can be drawn from from the data. First, slightly more than half (100 out of 193) of the world-wide readers are in the U.S. 38% of the U.S. readers are in California, which has the largest number of readers of any state. About 42% of the worldwide readers are in Japan, and about 53% of them are concentrated in Tokyo, which has the largest number of readers of any area in the world. In fact, the Tokyo percentage would be larger if we included Yokohama, Kanagawa-ken and Saitama-ken in the total for Tokyo.

World-wide, there is a sort of Tokyo-California axis, with Tokyo readers amounting to about 22%, and California readers to about 19.6%, of the world-wide total.

The predominance of California readers in the U.S. may be explained partly by the fact that the newsletter is published in California and the editor is better known among the translators there, but this still does not exclude the possibility that California really does have the largest number of J-E translators of any state in the U.S. The editor, in fact, believes that it is quite probable that Northern California is indeed the center of J-E translation for the U.S., although its predominance in the U.S. may not be as overwhelming as that of the Tokyo area for Japan.

In evaluating the significance of these numbers, it is necessary to remember that not all of the readers are translators or novice translators. The mailing list includes translation agencies, government agencies, universities, as well as non-translators who have a professional or personal interest in the subject matter. I am quite sure that there must be some J-E translators in the U.S. and Europe who are isolated and who have never heard that the newsletter exists. This must be even more true in Japan, where the number of readers of this newsletter is only a small percentage of the huge population of translators working with these two languages.

Even when we make the necessary allowances, the readership figures do give us our first approximate idea about the world-wide distribution of the members of our community. Until more precise statistical data become available, I think that we can use this information about the readership of the newsletter as a general framework on which to base our thinking about the approximate numbers of J-E translators and their geographical distribution. DLP

* * *


An article by Minoru Inaba entitled "Fujitsu-Hitachi unveil English/ Japanese translation software" contains the following statement about Fujitsu's Atlas-II system for Japanese-English machine translation:

Asked about the possibility of translating the company's computer manuals into English, Fujitsu executives said that task would be one of the most promising application fields, but added that since today's Fujitsu manuals were written in such bad Japanese, the computer would not understand them.

The article also says that Atlas-I completely failed at translating the following sentence from English into Japanese: "If you miss the train I am on, you will know that I am gone." When asked to translate "Time flies like an arrow," (haven't I heard that one somewhere before?) the computer produced a Japanese translation which said something about an insect which loves an arrow. (Electronic News, October 1, 1984, p. 37)

The Mainichi Daily News (October 6, 1984) had an interview by Michael Cutler with Takehiko Yamamoto, president of Bravice International. Yamamoto is described as "a restless company president, a tough, hands-on boss who personally directs his firm's research efforts, in stark contrast to the avuncular figures who usually sit at the top of Japanese corporations and oversee decisions made from the bottom up." (Those who disapprove of avuncular figures will rejoice.) Though Yamamoto has done very little translation on his own, says Michael Cutler, "he had spent enough hours checking the translations of others to become frustrated with the human translator." And now here is the memorable quotation:

"Good technical translation," he says, "cannot be done by humans in large quantities. Talented people never remain technical translators for long."

* * *


Many useful contacts have been made through the directory, not only by persons who are looking for translators, but also by translators who want to contact each other. For your convenience, I am including in this issue again a composite directory which embraces all the names submitted so far.

Readers should let me know promptly when they move so that I can change their directory entries.

APPS, F.R.D. Owner, Ingatestone Translations, 57 High St., Ingatestone, Essex, CM4 OAT, England. Japanese to English Technical Translation. Specialties electronics, organic chemistry.

BRAND, Russell. Director, Seijo Language Center. 9-21-15 Seijo, Setagayaku, Tokyo 157, Japan. Tel. (03) 484-0257.

CHANDLER, Brian. 10, Simmondley Grove, Glossop, Derbyshire SK13 9NQ, England. Tel. Glossop (04574) 61906. J-E Technical Translation. Specialties computers, electronics and patents.

DAVISON, Lucile S. 50 Tomlinson Rd., Woodbury, CT 06798. Tel. (203) 2634207. Japanese, Russian, German, and French to English. MS in Chemistry, Univ. Oklahoma 1940; technical librarian for U.S. Rubber Co. 1942–45; abstractor for Am. Petrol. Inst., Chemical Abstracts, Metals Abstracts; associate editor Rubber Chemistry and Technology 1967–80. Specializes in chemical literature and patents.

FIELD, Rikko. Director, JLS, 61 Renato Court, Suite 1, Redwood City, CA 94061. Tel.: (415) 321-9832. Technical translation and interpreting; IBM Displaywriter-processed copy; Japanese typesetting and typewriting. All technical fields including patents and legal documents.

FRASER, D.A., BA, MIL, 22 Gresley Road, London N19 3JZ, England. Japanese to English. Chemistry, medicine, life sciences. Freelance translator.

GLEASON, Alan. 1280 4th Ave., No. 3, San Francisco CA 94122. Tel. (415) 753-2702. Member NCTA. J-E translation and J-E/E-J consecutive interpreting. Fields: electronics, chemistry, computers, business, economics.

GORHAM, Don Cyril. 12900 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904. Tel. (301) 3849512. Jpn/Eng Eng/Jpn interpretation (consecutive) and translation. Liberal arts background; graduate of pre-WWII Jpn schools. Ten years experience as freelancer: economic, legal, political, and some technical (electronics, fishing, nuclear energy).

HAZELRIGG, Meredith. 468-1 Mizuno Sayama-shi, Saitama-ken, Japan 350-13. Tel. 0181-429-59-7959 (direct dial from U.S.), 0429-59-7959 (Japan). Freelance translation (general technical work with emphasis in three areas: medical, electronics, financial) and consultant in cross-cultural communication. Member, SWET. Listed, Contemporary Authors Trustee, Allegan Education Foundation (Box 155, Allegan, Michigan 49010 USA).

HENRY, Motoko. 1-21-3 Kamiogi, Suginami-ku, Tokyo 167, Japan. Tel. 03-392-4970. Simultaneous interpreter. Pharmacist with knowledge of chemical and medical terms.

HOWE, Josephine. 158 Wood Street, Doylestown, PA 18901, USA (Philadelphia Area). Tel.: (215) 348-7884. Japanese and French to English; pharmaceutical, medical, biochemical and industrial chemical research and patents. M.A. Japanese, Columbia U., New York, N.Y. B.A. English (French and Japanese minors, biosciences course work) Indiana U., Bloomington, IN.

HUNG, John Y. Owner, SANTRAN, 141 Zengel Dr., Centerville, OH 45459. Tel. (513) 4349288. Chinese, Japanese and German into English, and English into Chinese. ES, MA, MS. College instructor 1960–69, computer systems engineers 1969–73, and avionics and flight systems digital controls since 1973. Freelance translator since 1980. Specialties include patents, nuclear sciences, avionics, computers, aeronautics, electronics, software and aerodynamics.

ISHIMOTO, Paul. Japan Patent Service, 2025 Eye Street, N.W. #307, Washington, D.C. 20006. Specializes in translation of Japanese patents. Worked as translator in U.S. Patent Office for more than 15 years.

JENSON, W.L. 1-24 Tashiro Hondori, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, Japan 464. Tel.: (052)762-6532. Freelance Technical Translation (J-E), proofreading & rewriting. Field: Mechanical engineering specializing in automobiles. (Seven years' experience with Toyota Motor Corp. and affiliates.)

JONES, David G. 3013 Yellowpine Terrace, Austin, TX 78757. Tel.: (512) 451-4381. Japanese to English. Patents covering chemical synthesis, plastics, photography, electrophotography, magnetic recording media, etc.

KAY, Carl. Owner, Japanese Language Services, 45 Putnam Ave., Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139. Tel.: (617)661-9784. Offers Japanese translation, typesetting, interpreting and research services.

KURODA, Keiko. 1655 ½A Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94133. Tel.: (415) 7718409. Member ATA and NCTA. J-E interpreting and translation, abstracting and editing. Specialties: Legal translation and court interpreting. Technical translation in chemistry, electronics and engineering. Patents in all fields.

LAMB, John D. 5-32-10, Nagasaki, Toshima-ku, Tokyo l7l,Japan. Tel.: (03) 957-7390. Japanese and German to English; general technical work, mainly computers and electronics. B.Sc. Computer Science, London. Research in AI, Sussex University ('72-'73) and London University ('73-'75).

LIM, Peter, Ph.D. Chemistry, Syracuse University. 5220 N.E. 51st St., Vancouver, WA 98661. Tel.: (206) 694-5353 (home); (206) 695-4477, Ext. 349 (business). Areas of experience: Electronics, semiconductors, nuclear engineering, chemistry, mathematics, mechanical engineering, pulp and paper, patents, contracts.

McRAE, John R. 632 Colfax Court, Goleta, CA 93117. Tel.: (805) 964-9601. Ph.D. from Yale University (Chinese Buddhism). Computer Systems Manager, Berlitz/Agnew TechTran, 6415 Independence Ave., Woodland Hills, CA 93167.

McWILLIAMS, John J. President, The Word Shop, Ltd. 71 Karasawa, Minamiku, Yokohama 232. Tel.: (045) 261-2304. J-E translations in the fields of computers, robotics and data communications. Custom-made microcomputers with word processing software and an Epson MP-80 dot printer.

MOFFETT, Linda. 749 Ash Street, Denver, Colorado 80220. Tel. (303) 388-0284. BA, University of Colorado Japanese Studies, background in chemistry and pharmacy. Specializes in chemistry, batteries, textiles, medical.

MUNOZ, Roey. 7401 Cannon Mt. Pl., Austin, TX 78749. Tel.: (512)288-1897. Japanese-English and Spanish-English translation. BS in Japanese language from Georgetown Univ. with 6 years of translation experience. Special interest in medicine, pharmaceuticals and chemistry.

NISHIMURA, Keiichi. 461 Grizzly Peak Blvd., Berkeley, CA 94708. Patent attorney. Translates technical and scientific documents including Japanese patents into English.

O'KEEFFE, Michael B., B.A. Mod., M.Sc. 2 Church View, Clonsilla, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Technical abstracts and translations from Japanese. Specialties biotechnology and patents.

OSBORN, David K. 2495 Santa Rosa Ave., Altadena, CA 91001. Tel. (818) 797-8956. Japanese-English translator, editor, business correspondent and technical writer. Experience in medical, cultural, legal and business fields. Abstracts, typing and revisions.

OZAWA, Saeko. 2140 Roosevelt Ave., #203, Berkeley, CA 94703. Tel. (415) 849-9362. Interpreter and translator, English to Japanese B.A. Waseda, M.A. from U.C. Berkeley. Experience in legal, business, telecommunications, computers and chemistry. Patents in all fields.

PACIFIC INTERFACE, Inc. 60 West 76th St., New York, NY 10023. Tel. (212) 877-9159. Tokyo office: #401 Tagami Building, 4-1-14 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160, tel. (03) 376-3908. Laurin Herr, president, Betsy Kuga Schneider, associate. Research, consulting, and J-to-E translation, specializing in computer graphics. Sixteen years combined experience in technical translation.

PATNER, Richard. 14226 61st Place West, Edmonds, WA 98020. Tel. (206) 745-8089. Japanese to English translation of patents and technical documents with over ten years experience.

PEARCY, Ralph. 1900 S. Eads St., Arlington, VA 22202. Tel. (703) 892-1081. J-to-E technical and scientific translation, much patent experience. Biochemistry, electronics, textiles, physics, math.

PHILIPPI, Donald L. 715 Tenth Ave., San Francisco, CA 94118. Tel. (415) 752-7735. J-E technical translation in all fields. 23 years experience, Tokyo 1961–1971, S.F. since 1971. IBM Displaywriter. Editor of Technical Japanese Translation since May, 1983.

RIDLEY, Charles P. 2780 Ross Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303. Tel.: (415) 328-7344. Japanese-English and Chinese-English. BA in biology from Bates College; MA and PhD in Chinese from Stanford University. 20 years experience. Specialties include medicine, pharmaceuticals, chemistry, computer technology.

RUSOFF, Arnold F. 209 Hudson St., Ithaca, N.Y. 14850. Tel.: (607) 277-2292. Japanese to English translation of computer documentation. Eight years of experience. IBM PC with Wordstar.

SATOH, Tomoyuki. 2714 E. 22nd St., Austin TX 78722. Tel. (512)479-8460. M.A. Physics, The Johns Hopkins University. Japan Information Service, Austin. J-E translation and abstracting. Excellent in physics, mathematics, chemistry, elec. and mech. engineering, and patents in all fields; adequate in medical, pharmaceutical, electronics and computer science, law, economics, etc.

SCHODT, Frederik L. 144 Parnassus Ave. Apt. 14, San Francisco, CA 94117. Tel. (415) 681-9803. Member A.T.A. and N.C.T.A. Japanese-English interpreting, translation. Specialties computers, electronics. Epson QX-10 word processor.

SHIELDS, John N. CPO 42, Nagoya Japan 450 (Fax & business phone in Japan: (052) 7222-7181) and 1380 Lone Oak Road, Eagan, MN 55121 (Fax & business phone: 612-221-9088; RICOH GIII). J-E technical translation in many fields. 23 years in Japan, 15 in translation.

SHKOLNIK, Alexander. 4434 Fulton St., Apt. #2, San Francisco, CA 94121. Tel. (415) 3870290. Member A.T.A. and N.C.T.A. Japanese-English-Russian technical translations. Specialization in patent matters, mechanical engineering, metallurgy and chemistry. Worked as patent agent since 1963. Translating since 1959 from English to Russian, since 1965 from Japanese to Russian, and since 1970 into English from both.

SORDEAN, Jay, C.A. 2637 Regent St., #306, Berkeley, CA 94704. Tel.: (415) 841-9167. Languages: Japanese. Subjects: Medical, biological, patents, pharmaceuticals, chemistry, electronics, mechanical engineering, Oriental medicine, computers, legal, etc. 6 years translation & abstracting experience. Epson QX-10 word processor.

TALBOT, BRUCE G. Maisonette Daita #E, 5-13-17 Daita, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 155. About 2 years experience in business, economics and other non-technical areas. Presently shifting to computers, electronics, patents and other technical areas. Wants to correspond with U.S.based translators.

UYAMA, Hiroshi. Director, Japan Technical Information Center, 706 Seventh Street, S.E., Washington, D.C. 20003. Tel.: (202)544-6314 (days), (703) 979-0054 (evenings). B.A., Chemistry, International Christian University in Tokyo, M.S. Inorganic Chemistry, Tokyo Institute of Technology. Since 1975 Japanese-English interpreting, translation, and consulting services in Washington, D.C. Science, technology, politics, social sciences.

* * *

Editor's Postscript

An international exhibition of traditional handicrafts opened in Kyoto on October 6 and will remain there until December 9. The "English" name of the exhibition is "BAND '84 KYOTO." This is said to be an "abbreviation" of HANDCRAFT AND NEO-TRADITIONAL DREAM. "Neotraditional" breaks down to neotora in Japanese, and there is a pavilion called the "Kokusai Neotora Kan," standing for "International Neo-traditional Pavilion." An added attraction is an entertainment program called "Machishuu supesharu ekisaito," which evidently is something specially exciting that is done by the townsfolk. I wonder what it could be.

I sent a copy of TJT no. 19 to Dr. Shuji Umano, whose book Gijutsu bunmei no hōsoku was reviewed in that issue. I also sent Dr. Umano a letter in which I said that many readers in the U.S. and elsewhere would surely be interested in his views. I wrote that I would like it very much if he would publish some of his writings in English translation. TJT readers will be happy to know that Dr. Umano replied in a letter dated October 10 to say that he agrees with my suggestion and would like to publish a new book setting forth his historical views simultaneously in both Japanese and English editions. He is approaching a publisher in Tokyo to explore that possibility.

John Bukacek writes (October 2) about the number of J-E translators attending the ATA convention in September. "I counted at least 40 persons involved in Japanese translation in one way or another," he says. "It was my first ATA convention, so I myself have no way to compare, but others told me that there has never been such a large number of J-E translators before. Of course, ATA is still heavily dominated by translators of European languages, but the recognition of the importance of Japanese translation was pretty clear."

David Shonyo, Director, Office of International Affairs, National Technical Information Service, writes (October 3) to clarify the comments by him cited in Paula Doe's article in TJT no. 19 (p. 12–13). (See also the article in no. 20, p. 5–6.) He says that his dissatisfaction was with the U.S government procurement system and was not meant to imply any dissatisfaction with the abilities of J-E technical translators in the U.S. This is what he says in his letter:

By way of comment, I was a bit disturbed to see that my dissatisfaction with the way in which we must procure translation services was translated into an implied dissatisfaction with the U.S. J-E translation community. I know in fact that there are many very capable translators working in this country. My problem is with reaching them using our existing procurement system.

There are two primary sources of difficulty here. First, there are also many marginallyqualified translators whose low bids are accepted by our contracts people. Such contractors cannot be rejected until they prove themselves to be unqualified. Then the procurement process begins again. The second difficulty stems from the fact that our large contracts involved highly technical subject matter in many different disciplines. It was not possible to reach a potential contractor with the technical depth to handle this diverse lot of material. In a few cases, I have been able to request bids on a single, specific monograph from a limited number of translators with known technical qualifications. In these instances, the resulting translated products have been highly satisfactory.

I will be glad to keep you and your readers appraised of further developments in our efforts to make the results of Japanese Government-funded research accessible to the Englishreading public.

* * *


The editor was pleased to receive, just before beginning to print this issue, the following letter from Richard J. Samuels, Associate Professor and Program Director, MIT-Japan Science and Technology Program. The letter is dated October 25, 1984.

I read with some concern in TJT 20 that you are seriously thinking of discontinuing your activities and thereby the publication of what has become the only reliable, easily accessible source of timely information about scientific and technical information in Japan. From my perspective, as an educator and a student of contemporary Japanese policy issues, your coverage of issues associated with technical translation were but fascinating dividends culled from the broader wealth of business and policy relevant information about S&T in Japan.

That is why, although I am saddened that you are disappointed in the response of your initial target audience, I urge you to see the unintended opportunity you have created for yourself, and thus for the rest of us. As you have yourself reported, there have emerged a number of TJT clones. Some will be better than others, some will be more accessible than others, and some will be more successful than others. But none will be able, on its own, to cover the waterfront. Your message has consistently been that we need more and better technical information from Japan. This is not the time to abandon that goal or this effort. I urge you to continue in whatever form you deem appropriate.

One final note. Upon doing a quick, back of the envelope calculation, I estimated that for me $20 I was receiving $30 of paper and postage alone. The information was free. You can and should do much better than that for yourself. You now have a loyal and attentive following. We are tuned into your channel. Keep transmitting, and, by all means raise the price. We will pay it because it is worth it. Your work, even if it is not the work you set out to do, is important. Keep it up. Many of us who are not technical translators are depending upon you.

The editor's decision is, indeed, to discontinue this newsletter in its present form. But I am planning to begin another newsletter which will be addressed squarely to the issues of Japanese scientific and technical information and of leading-edge Japanese technology. Since the new newsletter will not be addressed only to Japanese technical translators, some changes in emphasis and viewpoint will be necessary, and the subscription price will inevitably be more realistic. I hope that the new newsletter will serve even better the needs of the current "loyal and attentive following." Read on for the "Editor's Decision," written before I received Professor Samuels' letter.

* * *


As I said last month, I have been feeling that most of the questions of interest to J-E technical translators per se have already been addressed in great detail in the pages of this newsletter over the past year and a half. I have also felt that the general lack of professional commitment on the part of translators has resulted in a sort of amorphous looseness and careless irresponsibility in the profession. For example, in TJT no. 19, I asked (a second time) for readers to comment on a number of questions such as:

  1. What are the reasons for the obscurity of our profession of Japanese translators?
  2. What are the obstacles which will stand in our way as we attempt to win greater social recognition for our professional role?
  3. What can our profession do now and in the future to obtain greater recognition of the importance of our role?
  4. Should we take the initiative into our own hands, or should we rely on others to enhance our status for us?

Well, that was published in September 1984, and readers have still not commented on the questions I raised. Conclusion: J-E technical translators do not seem to give a damn about their own profession.

Nevertheless, there are welcome signs of some stirrings of activity among the membership of the ATA. A Japanese Specialized Interest Group has now been established within the ATA, and Carl Kay will be sending in regular contributions about Japanese translation to the ATA Chronicle. This newsletter has been addressing questions of interest to its readership of nearly 200 people on three continents consistently month after month for a year and a half. The main accomplishment of the Japanese SIG thus far seems to be that it has been able to meet for 2 hours. No doubt the Specialized Interest Group in the ATA, if it can ever rouse itself from torpor and do something really useful, will fill some of the void resulting from the discontinuation of this newsletter. If the Specialized Interest Group would like to continue to publish this newsletter in its present form, I would be glad to turn it over to the Group.

The decision to discontinue this newsletter, however, does not mean the end of my involvement with newsletter writing and publication. I immensely enjoy communicating by this medium. What could be more exciting than to know that there are intelligent readers out there sharing my own interests and benefiting from what little information I have been able to unearth and share with them? Now I can reveal a secret. One of the reasons why I have been publishing TJT at such a low cost was to gain for myself valuable experience in the work of writing and publishing a newsletter. I think it is now generally recognized that I am able to do that work consistently and efficiently. Therefore, after taking a rest for about one month, I plan to begin issuing another newsletter, probably in January, 1985. This newsletter, which will probably be titled Japan Intelligence will deal with leading-edge Japanese technology and with Japanese scientific and technical information in general, but not primarily with narrowly linguistic matters. As usual, the main emphasis will be on thoughtful analysis of trends which appear to be potentially of great significance for the whole world, and on reporting news which is not available elsewhere in English. The new publication will address itself to the broad community of intelligent professional people and scholars who have interests in Japan and/or in Japanese high technology.

As of this writing (end of October 1984), I (DLP) am negotiating with a potential publisher of Japan Intelligence. The publisher will take care of marketing and distribution matters, enabling me to concentrate solely on writing the newsletter. I can't be more specific about my plans at this moment, but I will keep you all informed about the details when they can be announced. Naturally, readers of Technical Japanese Translation will be welcome to subscribe to the new newsletter if they wish, and I will make a special effort to include in it features of interest to translators, too. DLP

* * *

[Scanned Image No. 3]

* * *

Anyone wishing to obtain a complete set of all 21 issues (all issues published from May 1983 through this current issue of November 1984) can obtain one by sending me $40 (U.S.) or $45 (Japan and Europe).

November 10, 1984

Donald L. Philippi
715 Tenth Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 752-7735

* * *