Japan’s Software Industry and Development Methods

Mita Takahashi


Many academic papers have discussed the lack of international competitiveness of Japan’s software industry. Those papers showed some reasons of the lack of international competitiveness, but didn’t show why those reasons occurred. This article examines those academic papers, and analyzes the reasons why the Japanese software industry lacks international competitiveness. This analysis shows that the multi-subcontracting system prevents the Japanese firms from adopting new development methods. As a result, many Japanese firms still use the waterfall model. Plenty of Japanese software firms use the waterfall model not for efficiency. Development projects using the waterfall model have various problems including the delay in development period, increase in cost, and lack of few functions of the software being developed. Finally, this article proposes some ways to promote the use of new development methods in Japan.