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Rethink METI's role in Japanese innovation

Forget about the government picking winners. Foster entrepreneurs

| Japan
Masaaki Tanaka, president and CEO of the Japan Investment Corp., said it would be "impossible to rebuild a relationship of trust with the government." (Photo by Wataru Ito)

The Japan Investment Corp., the latest in a series of public-private funds in Japan, imploded less than three months after it started when its nine board members, including the CEO, resigned.

The result is embarrassment all around, with questions asked about public-private cooperation, executive pay, and the role of the government in promoting innovation. But some good may yet come out of the debacle, which happened late last year, if Japanese officials develop a better way of supporting innovation -- one that relies more on fostering entrepreneurs and less on trying to select winning projects.

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