Science and Innovation Policy of the Japanese Government

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Head of the Japanese Economy and Politics Group, Center for Asia-Pacific Studies
Affiliation: Primakov Institute of World Economy and Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Russian Federation, 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997
Journal nameProblemy Dalnego Vostoka
EditionIssue 2

Japan has developed institutional infrastructure designed to exercise government support for research activities, including those in the private sector. This infrastructure includes government agencies which formulate and implement science and technology policy; a system of official plans and programs to support and fund research, as well as legal entities set up by the government to control the use of funds allocated for this purpose.

Government infrastructure facilitating research is supplemented by research and analysis units of private companies, which account for more than 80% of total R&D expenditures. A significant role in organizing R&D belongs to universities, including associated research centers and institutes.

Legal framework for science and technology policy is provided by the Law on Science, Technology and Innovation. Goals and actual tasks of this policy are formulated in five-year "basic plans", while government’s vision of it is specified in regularly updated official “innovation strategy”. Supra-ministerial "cross-cutting" programs to support most promising research and innovation are used as a tool of science and technology policy and a part of its institutional infrastructure. Another new policy tool, apart from traditional government funding of scientific and educational institutions, is the formation of a favorable research environment by eliminating intersectoral and interdepartmental barriers to information flows, setting up national databases and digital platforms for researchers.


General philosophy and main task of science and technology policy have been shifting from universal support for research with regard for official priorities, to targeted search and funding of projects promising maximum contribution to attaining long-term economic and social goals. Fostering research and innovation is increasingly seen as a key link in implementing national development strategy and economic and social policy related to it. At the same time, support is not linked to specific industries but targeted on fostering “ability to conduct research that push the boundaries of knowledge and create new value” in the form of new products and markets. The main problem for institutions stimulating research and innovation is the lack of reliable objective criteria and methods of assessing effectiveness of financial and organizational support and the quality of environment created for these activities.

KeywordsJapan, development strategy, science and technology policy, support for research and innovation, institutional and information environment
Publication date19.04.2022
Number of characters40733
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