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Japanese Prime Minister’s Office IP Plan Calls for Diversified and “Value-Designing Society”


The Prime Minister’s Office issued an Plan for Promoting Intellectual Property 2019 in June 2019. This Plan lays out various principles around which the government apparently hopes to rally businesses in a new direction, away from strict guarding of IP toward synergistic and dynamic growth in a creative environment more conducive to open innovation. When is this supposed to take place? The Plan claims it wants to see the shift in economic focus by 2025-2030 and gives details on goals and steps toward this.


The Prime Minister’s Office is calling for a “value designing society,” where value is supposed to have a meaning expanded beyond the strictly materialistic economic meaning of the past. In the Prime Minister’s Office’s vision, Japan would more and more incorporate nonmonentary value such as (in the words of the Plan) “diverse elements, including the social and cultural, that ultimately contribute to economic value” (p. 2). In other words, not merely economic measurements but less tangible enterprises that lead to collaboration based on personal values are expected to gain importance in Japanese economic life.


Of course the goal is not for Japan to remove strong IP standards and protection of innovation, as the report implies (p.3, Fig. 1). Yet the report suggests that the existing economic paradigm has in some ways hindered innovation and creative synergism, and more open innovation is needed to help Japan establish a niche for itself by drawing on and connecting unique Japanese innovators (p. 5, Fig. 3). And of course big data and AI are to play a role in an expanding reach of shared information from which to build this new Japanese economic power.


It seems that the West’s talk of sustainable development goals and collaboration is taking root at the top governmental levels of Japanese society and manifested in this Plan. Stay tuned for more commentary on this plan and its implications for IP direction in Japan in the future.

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Taro Yaguchi


Japan Office of the Prime Minister, “知的財産推進計画2019 [Intellectual property promotion plan 2019],”, June 21, 2019, accessed August 7, 2019.







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