At a groundbreaking celebration last fall in Kyoto, Japan, officials of the Kyoto Research Park Corp. and Philadelphia’s University City Science Center (UCSC) watched as a Shinto priest blessed the construction site. Several months later, in March of this year, the Japanese officials visited Philadelphia and planted a symbolic cherry tree on the Science Center’s grounds. Both ceremonies were held in honor of an unprecedented agreement, formally announced at the Philadelphia tree-planting The two corporations had joined to create Science Center International.

The agreement calls for development of a 23-acre, $600 million scientific research park in Japan’s Kansai region to serve as an incubator for new high-tech business enterprises. Osaka Gas—the official parent company of Kyoto Research Park—is contributing 70% of the capital needed for the international science center. UCSC—a nonprofit corporation promoting technology development—is providing 30%.

The developers plan 30 buildings for the site—to be completed by 1996—which they...

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