Action on infrastructure business and standardization

JSA Newsletter

Action on infrastructure business and standardization

The Japanese Standards Association (JSA) published last October a book titled Growing Infrastructure Business: Taking on a Giant Market with International Standardization.

In Japan, great attention is being drawn today to export of package-type infrastructure to Asian nations. This development is a type of growth strategy aimed at promotion of one-time-only giant projects, unlike “manufacturing” utilizing mass production technologies in which Japan excels. Although it appears that interest in infrastructure business is very often directed to large-scale business models covering entire nations in the drive to win project orders, there are a large number of problems in the project implementation stage that follows successful order placement.

The book has been written by members of JSA who have long engaged in the arena of standardization, presenting the relationship between infrastructure and standards which had not attracted much attention in the past. Standards strategy is vital in many aspects of building a giant system, such as railway and other transport systems, water and sewage systems and energy supply systems. It is hoped that the book will aid in further invigorating the discussions related to standards and infrastructure.

With the book as the first step in this direction, JSA plans to engage in various activities related to infrastructure and standardization. As part of this effort, JSA has held a symposium titled “Infrastructure business and standardization — The current state and issues in overseas operations” on February 27, 2012 (Mon) at Osaka Riverside Hotel.

At the symposium, JSA president Masami Tanaka spoke on the importance of standardization in infrastructure from a perspective that did not attract much attention in the past. This was followed by the keynote address by Professor Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Dean of Graduate School of Management, Kyoto University, pertaining to the issues in Japan’s infrastructure business and standardization, referring to his own efforts at development and promotion of asset management suited to each Asian nation and issues in standardization. The lecture presented a large number of ideas that are expected to be useful in other areas as well. This was followed by a presentation by Keihan Electric Railway on its efforts to expand into other Asian nations alongside the national government, presentation on “smart city,” especially “smart house” activities by Panasonic Corporation, and the drive for overseas expansion with high quality and reliability in water supply and sewage systems presented by Construction Bureau of Osaka City. The panel discussion that concluded the symposium centered chiefly on standardization, certification and manpower from the standpoint of infrastructure, based on the presentations held previously.

The audience consisted of a wide range of segments of organizations through Japan, including businesses involved in executive officers of infrastructure construction and management, parts manufacturers, and other major and smaller businesses, as well as worksite managers, university professors, students, banking and insurance companies, making the symposium highly lively and successful.

Infrastructure and standardization is a problem not limited to Japan alone. It is believed that Japan will be able to contribute its share to resolving problems in infrastructure, water, energy, etc., in its own country as well as emerging nations. Plans to continue directing its energies into activities in this field. Specifically, the Association plans to publish a book on “water and standardization” as a specific segment of infrastructure. Furthermore, JSA is considering startup of a discussion group involving industrial and academic sectors, as well as reinforcement of ties with universities, in order to deepen study into the issues and to present the direction that the country should take.