This research aims to present policy implications to the Korean government and private companies by providing an in-depth analysis on how the Japanese government and companies deal with the country’s so-called “social challenges” using the technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution. In order to do this, this study chose 1) health, medical care and nursing, 2) manufacturing, logistics and mobility, and 3) regional revitalization as its fields of focus, and examined how the Japanese government and private companies utilize the 4th Industrial Revolution technologies—namely, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, etc.—in addressing the country’s social issues.
In chapter 2, “Japan’s ‘Social Challenges’ and the 4th Industrial Revolution,” this research analyzes the social cost of Japan’s low birthrate and aging population in terms of its fiscal sustainability, medical costs and regional imbalance. Then it looks into the Japanese government’s 4th Industrial Revolution policy and the digital transformation (DX) movement further stimulated by the spread of COVID-19.
Chapter 3, “Health, Medical Care and Nursing Sector,” examines the Japanese government’s efforts to utilize health data including regulatory reforms and its “Data Health Reform” policy. It also introduces some model cases of corporate-level utilization of health and medical big data. It was noted that remote medical treatment is rapidly spreading in Japan, after the country temporarily eased restrictions on remote medical care in April, 2020, following a spike in the coronavirus cases.
In chapter 4, “Manufacturing, Logistics and Mobility,” this research firstly analyzes the Japanese government’s efforts to connect different manufacturing companies’ digital platforms, and presents some case studies of Japanese manufacturing companies’ utilization of 4th Industrial Revolution technologies, such as AI, IoT, 5G, etc. Next, in the mobility sector, this research examines the Japanese government’s movements in the area of Mobility as a Service (MaaS), including its roadmap, pilot operations, policy supports and commercialization efforts. Finally, the Japanese government’s policy supports for DX in the logistics field were analyzed.
Chapter 5, ”Regional Revitalization,” introduces Japan’s efforts at dealing with the growing regional imbalance by using the technologies stemming from the 4th Industrial Revolution. This chapter focuses on the three topics of creating a regional IoT Platform, implementing 5G networks and smart city construction as distinctive examples of Japanese (central and regional) governmental efforts at regional revitalization.
Finally, chapter 6 suggests policy implications for the Korean government. First, for the health, medical care and nursing sector, this research presents three proposals for the government: institutional reforms and data standardization in healthcare, broader collection and utilization of nursing data, and engaging in an active discussion on how to expand telemedicine. In the manufacturing, mobility and logistics sector, this research suggests supply chain optimization across the entire chain, as opposed to merely implementing smart technologies in a manufacturing plant, and introduction of MaaS and DX in the mobility and logistics fields. Regarding regional revitalization, this research draws policy implications from Japan’s regulatory reforms, which helped shift the focus of its regional DX policy from “technology” to “problem- solving,” and from a supply (provider)–driven approach to a demand-driven approach.