In February 2016, The Government of Japan launched a new 5-years plan for science and technology. This plan will guide national policy for the period 2016-2021.
The plan aims at: 1) Turning Japan into the world’s most innovation-friendly country. 2) Creating a “supersmart Society” to meet the socio-economic problem. Per the science and technology plan, the Japanese government will allocate 26 trillion Yen over the five years, or 1% o GDP each year as investments in science and technology projects. The plan also aims at correcting past policy mistakes that led to the deterioration of Japan’s research competences.
During the last 20 years: - More school students in the field of sciences. - More researches. - More research. During the last 20 years, the number of graduate school students in the field of science increased from 150,000 to 250,000 and the number of researchers increased from 680,000 to 860,000. Researchers produced a large number of research papers.
After 2002: - Japan did not enable the environment for sciences and technology. All these positive results were mainly achieved during the period 1995-2000, however these indicators started to decline starting 2002. In addition, Japan failed to create the enabling environment for research and technology. Many post doctoral students are unemployed. The number of teaching positions in Tokyo University for young researchers is declining.
The New S&T Plan aims at: (1) linking research to socioeconomic challenges.The plan reflects the importance of linking research, science and technology to the major socio-economic problems such as low fertility rate, aging population, poor regional economies, and changes in national security environment.
One of the main pillars of the plan is to create a “super smart society, where advanced technology, artificial intelliegence (AI) and robots, are used to raise business competitiveness, contribute to economic growth, and improve services such as nursing care, medical treatment, transportation and financial services.
The plan calls for cooperation between all development partners; the government, the civil society, the private sector, and the academia.
The government of japan is serious about correcting all past mistakes and to allocate more funds for research, science and technology, enabling the environment so that researchers are encourage to innovate and find the correct solutions to socio-economic challenges.