Why is Japan one of the most advanced countries in the world in terms of technology – and where does Japan stand against China?

Olivia Singh (Yr10 student) from the Herts and Essex High School explored the levels of technological development in Japan and China whilst on work experience, to ascertain which is the emergent superpower competing with the USA.

In this article I will be comparing levels of development regarding technology, in Japan and China.

Japan is a fascinating country. From provision of vending machines containing clothes and shoes, to E-TAF automatic doors that open shifting accordingly to your body shape; the Japanese incorporate technology into their everyday lives. China’s top companies, one being Alibaba, have spent $10.7bn on stock buybacks and dividends; they are producing wealth, people, companies and cities at an increasingly pleasing rate.

The source of Japan’s technological advancement is undoubtedly from the youth of Japan. Statistics show that among 34 OECD countries Japanese students performance levels rank second in mathematics and first in science. Japan spends around 3.59% of GDP in public spending on education. Only 0.93% of females aged 15-19 have no education. The Japanese education system involves 9 years of compulsory education (grades 1-9) and students begin school at the age of 7. Japan’s has the world’s best universities, one being Kyoto University which is joint 35th at the current world university rankings by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). Japanese people are well in touch with technology, as 93.3% of the population uses it, China’s percentage stands lower at 53.1%. Furthermore, the high school graduation rate in Japan is 95%, with China’s standing comparatively lower at 84%. Research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, (OECD) highlights that Chinese students from Shanghai’s schools have previously outperformed those from 65 countries or regions.

The young engineers of China and Japan have created many exemplary inventions, such as:

Japanese Inventions

The Cells Alive System 

C.A.S. changes the physics of freezing. By using an oscillating electrical field, water molecules are forced to spin rather than bunching and freezing up into ice crystals. This causes the cell walls to remain unbroken. C.A.S. uses 30% less power than our conventional freezers and can freeze food up to around 5 times faster. Remarkably, no loss of taste in the fruit or veg is found, this is because oxidization is reduced by 98%.

Robot Hotel Staff

Nagasaki’s Henn-na Hotel, is run entirely by robots. It is a famous capsule hotel renowned for its high-tech facilities. When you enter, a mechanised dinosaur guides you through check-in and a luggage bot wheels your suitcase into your room beside you. When you wish to sleep, your robot companion turns off the lights for you.

By replacing human staff with robots’ labour costs decrease, bringing benefits to the company. A main benefit that the company would receive is that the robots would be able to work more than people. Humans can become ill or quit the job, but by having robots as staff, all factors of sickness and tiredness are eliminated. This means that the company wouldn’t have to deal with giving days off to its staff, making business more convenient. Also, robots are far faster at completing work, and are communicative and courteous at all times. They also resemble humans in appearance.

Round Keyboards

Drum set keyboards were developed by the Japanese Google input development team, these keyboards are faster and more efficient than regular keyboards. Since this keyboard was produced in Japan, it is only available nationally and in the Japanese language. In the future however, it is expected that these circular-shaped keyboards will be introduced in other parts of the world as well.

 

Chinese Inventions

World’s thinnest phone glass

Fairly recently, China has produced the world’s thinnest float glass, with improved light transmittance and flexibility. It was invented by the Bengbu Design and Research Institute. It can withstand the impact of a 1.95oz steel ball falling from a height of 3.3ft. The price of China’s touch screens is set to surely fall, which will benefit the entire electrical device market.

Police Robots 

At Zhengzhou East railway station, there are police robots which can clean, monitor air quality, find fires and use face recognition technology in order to track individuals wanted by the police. Also, they can help keep the station clear at night. These robots are called Anbots and are 149cm tall, weighing 78kg.

Quantum Satellite Network

The quantum satellite network sends data over long distances that is impossible to hack. It was created by using Einstein’s theorem known as ‘spooky action at distance.’ To relay a message, the satellite will create a quantum key or a string of random numbers that encodes information. A quantum key sending to the receiver wouldn’t be able to be duplicated, because quantum photons cannot be copied.  If there is any attempt to hack into the message, the quantum key will be changed or cancelled.

Comparing These Technologies 

From researching the most famous inventions of Japan and China, I’ve concluded that China does stand ahead of Japan in terms of creating new, useful technology. Although Japan has created many outstanding inventions, they don’t stand on a large scale as China’s does. China invested 8.99 trillion of yuan in tech as of 2017 and topped the local rankings. China’s economy also grew up 6.8% as reported by the country’s statistics bureau. China has used its robots (Anbots) for more serious purposes, such as identifying criminals and managing fire hazards – they’ve been created for the protection of people. Japan has the world’s third largest economy, with China ranking at 2nd. Japan has spent $3.1bn in tech, less than China.  Japan’s robots are working in hotels, which is considered as more of a leisure aspect to base technology from. This may be considered as a good factor, due to the fact that it can make the lives of citizens easier.  In the long term however, these technological inventions won’t be of great significance. This is because China, and potentially other nations e.g. South Korea would be leading far ahead in more major projects. Japan serves more of a luxurious service than practical, as many of Japan’s other inventions do e.g. the round keyboard. These keyboards make typing in Japanese much easier – but we already have keyboards, so technically speaking Japan has only found a quicker way to type in Japanese. This is useful for Japan as a country but cannot be applied on a global scale.

 

On the other hand, China’s technological inventions appear as more complex; for example, the quantum satellite network which was created having Einstein’s theorem in mind. Also, China’s growth in the tech world has been developing rapidly in comparison to Japan. A state council document, issued in July last year, predicted that China would be known as the world’s prominent practitioner of artificial intelligence in the next 12 years – both in application and research. China plans to add more than 50 million new urban jobs in 2016-2020. In Japan, for every 100 people looking, there are 110 jobs on ever. This has been the best ratio in 20 years.

After analysing the statistics and technological inventions in both countries; I conclude that China is more technologically advanced than Japan, because as observed Japan’s technology doesn’t give a lot of scope for revolutionary development. The remaining question lies; will China be able to maintain its super-tech position on a global scale, or will the USA still dominate at top?

Japan stands slightly below China in technology, however they are both emerging technological superpowers. China and the USA compete constantly, and recently (as of June 25th, 2018) the USA over took China by introducing a new supercomputer to the world.

Japan is in need of catching up to China, and for now the race is between the USA and China.