Green chemistry plays an important role in achieving sustainable development through pollution prevention in manufacturing sectors. This study examines the determining factors leading to green chemical patent applications in Japan from 1971 to 2010. The novel contribution of the present research is to clarify companies' research and development strategies using log mean Divisia index with a focus on two factors: corporate priority given to green chemical patent inventions and the scale effect of research and development activities. I focus on five green chemical technologies: (1) aqueous solvents, (2) selected white biotechnology, (3) totally chlorine-free bleaching, (4) biodegradable packaging, and (5) biochemical fuel cells. The first three technologies are mainly applied in production processes in manufacturing sectors. I describe two main findings. First, green chemical technologies applied in production processes have increased due to both the scale-up effect and increased research prioritization. This result implies that policies that encourage overall research activity promote the invention of green chemical technologies that can be utilized in production. Second, biodegradable packaging and biochemical fuel cells related to product design and renewable energy increased mainly as a result of increased research prioritization. Therefore, a specific research policy is more important than a policy intended to stimulate overall research activities in encouraging the invention of biodegradable packaging and biochemical fuel cell technologies.
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