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Japan to set up tech fund for economic security

Japan Tech fund
Japan plans to set up a tech fund to support research and development in advanced technologies.

Japan is planning to set up an $880 m (100 bn yen) fund to support research and development in advanced technologies to enhance economic security and strengthen industrial competitiveness.

Through this tech plan, the government is aiming to provide Japanese companies and universities to conduct research and development, demonstration tests and practical applications in fields of artificial intelligence, quantum technology, biotechnology, fifth-generation networks, big data and semiconductors as well as robotics.

“Japan’s economy will not grow unless we make changes to the industrial structure with science and technology as the foundation,” the economic revitalization minister Daishiro Yamagiwa said when revealing the plan.

The technology fund is in line with newly elected Prime Minister’s pledge to invest in Japan’s digital future. According to the minister, this will help to strengthen industrial competitiveness and support development, crucial for the country’s digital transformation.

“The government will fully support private-sector companies’ research and development activities for advanced technologies, and their efforts to prepare a business environment for such technologies,” he added during the announcement.

The government-backed tech fund will be included in the package of economic stimulus measures in Japan’s fiscal 2021 supplementary budget. The first fund dedicated to economic security is to be compiled by the new government under Fumio Kishida and drawn up after the October 31 Lower House elections.

The planned tech fund is likely to be formed under Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization and the Japan Science and Technology Agency. Besides tech development to compete against other countries, this fund also aims to prevent outflows of talent from the country to foreign rivals.

A week ago, Japan’s new Prime Minister Kishida in his first policy speech told the parliament that the government will set up an $89.3 bn (10 tn yen) university fund this fiscal year. This would be to promote research into advanced technologies, including in the fields of space, quantum computing and environmental preservation.