Author: Hyeog Ug Kwon, Faculty Fellow, RIETI
In the event of a large paradigm shift like the fourth industrial revolution, it can be assumed that the speed of technological change will accelerate exponentially. It is impossible to imagine at what scale and with what speed the creative destruction brought about by such technological change will occur. Industries and businesses that currently represent strengths may turn into weaknesses in an instant. Just as Japan lost its internationally competitive electronics industry and superior electronics businesses due to the ICT revolution, in the event that the country cannot adapt to new technological innovation, it may lose everything it still retains. Japan must reevaluate regulations protecting existing industries and businesses as quickly as possible and establish systems and implement policies promoting technological innovation in order to join the fourth industrial revolution. For example, I believe that there is a significant danger that Japan will be completely unable to adapt to technological innovation in the medical and transportation industries if it prohibits IT-based telemedicine in order to protect doctors and hospitals, or prohibits Uber in order to protect its taxi industry. Rather than privileging vested interests, Japan must hasten the establishment of systems that promote new innovation essential to its future. More than anything, right now, speed is of the essence.