TOKYO (Kyodo) — James Dyson, founder of British vacuum cleaner maker Dyson Ltd., is urging young people to turn toward engineering and science to revive faltering manufacturing in Britain and other industrial nations.
''I think there is a sense of crisis,'' Dyson said in a recent interview with Kyodo News in Tokyo. He said young people do not show much interest in engineering and science in Britain and the situation is likewise in other industrial nations, including Japan.
''If you look at what's happening in China and India, there are a huge number of children there who want to become engineers and scientists,'' Dyson said, adding such a development is ''very frightening for our economies and also for our culture.''
The 60-year-old British entrepreneur is visiting Japan to promote a new product.
A number of consumer electronics companies are shifting their production bases to developing countries such as China in search of low production costs, and are transferring technology and know-how to such countries as well, Dyson said.
But other industries, such as the automobile and aeronautics ones, remain in high-cost countries, he said.
Dyson lamented that young people's apparent lack of interest in engineering and science stems from contemporary culture, which he says is against manufacturing.
Saying the media put too much emphasis on the financial and real estate industries, Dyson said, ''The press talks about that with great deal of excitement because something is happening very quickly.''
In a bid to inspire more children to study engineering, Dyson plans to open a school in Britain in the fall of 2009 with huge exhibitions such as jet engines, aircraft components and Formula One racing cars.
The British inventor said he also wants parents and teachers to come to the school to share the understanding of the importance of manufacturing.
Though people must work hard for a long time to master engineering and science, Dyson said the process of designing and developing new products and technology is ''very exciting.''
But Dyson is not optimistic about the future of manufacturing in industrial nations.
''I'm not confident that something will be done about it in our countries because it means a big cultural change,'' he said.
Turning to his own business, Dyson showed confidence that the latest cyclonic vacuum cleaner, the DC24, will become a clear hit in the Japanese market.
Dyson said that featuring a large ball containing an electric motor at the bottom of its vertical body, the new bagless vacuum cleaner allows a user to change directions of the machine more smoothly than conventional types with wheels at bottom.
He said the concept is similar to the mouse of a laptop computer.
In addition to vacuum cleaners, Dyson said he plans to introduce a new electrical appliance in the Japanese market but declined to elaborate.
''It's confidential,'' he said, smiling.
Dyson proudly explained merits of the new vacuum cleaner but the new model has yet to satisfy his quest for innovation.
''There are obvious things that we need to do in the future for vacuum cleaners...(to make them) quieter, more powerful, lighter and use less electricity,'' he said. ''All these things we want to achieve, and we are developing technology to do that.''
The development of a more efficient and powerful electric motor will be a key to the future, Dyson added.
The Japanese market — the second largest after the U.S. market for the British maker — is expected to remain attractive for the company because Japanese consumers are ''very technology-oriented and very sophisticated, compared with any other markets in the world,'' he said.