November 10, 2015
This paper aims at analysing and comparing regional innovation support Systems in South Korea and Japan and explaining the differences found between the countries' Systems. Based on empirical research on innovation support agencies in Kyongbuk-Taegu, South Korea, and Hiroshima, Japan, it will be shown that South Korea is characterised by dirigiste regio nal innovation support Systems, whereas Japan's regions have a mixture of relatively well co-ordinated national and regional agencies with higher levels of local interaction and systemness (integrated Systems). The dirigiste kind of system found in South Korea generates both too homogenous innovation support agen cies, which are not enough focused on specific regional economic demand, and horizontal policy co-ordination problems due to strong vertical dependencies of agencies in the regions to their Sponsors in the central government. The difference in type of Systems found in South Korea and Japan cannot be explained only by a time lag of development policies between the two countries, but also by other factors, such as the long history of supporting small and medium- sized enterprises by Japanese prefectures, differences in collective trust and the size of the countries.