Leslie Helm is author of Yokohama Yankee: My Family’s Five Generations as Outsiders in Japan. Helm was born and raised in Yokohama, Japan where his family has lived since 1869. He returned to Tokyo as a correspondent first for Business Week in the early 1980s and later for the Los Angeles Times in the 1990s. He was an Abe Fellow from 1999-2001. Helm has an M.A. in Asian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He is currently editor of Seattle Business Magazine.
Government efforts, technological advances and socioeconomic trends have fused in recent years to ignite explosive growth in the worldwide computer network widely know today as the Internet. The trend, which began in the United States, is catching fire in Japan and elsewhere around the world as millions of new users each year turn to the medium to send E-mail messages, find information and buy products and services. While many countries have been quick to embrace the Net, the way in which each country uses the technology differs in some important respects. While E-mail has been a popular feature in both Japan and the United States, for example, American companies are more likely than their Japanese counterparts to regard the Internet as a tool for restructuring their businesses and boosting productivity. Is Japan merely a step behind the United States in the use of the Net and headed in the same direction or have regulatory, social and economic conditions stunted or altered the way in which the technology is implemented? What are each country's advantages and disadvantages in exploiting the medium? My study would look at the factors that have influenced the evolution of the technology to date and factors in each country that may accelerate or slow its adoption in the future.