British Embassy Tokyo Science & Innovation Newsletter

The August issue of the monthly newsletter from the Science & Innovation Section of the British Embassy has been released. This month's article is "The Japan Revitalisation Plan". The newsletter also includes news headlines from Japanese S&I press and details of forthcoming events.


Welcome to the August edition of our newsletter.

Japan emerges from the summer holidays into a period of some political uncertainty. Prime Minister Noda looks set to call an early election (as he had promised) following a censure motion by the upper house of the Diet (parliament) passed on 29 August. The Prime Minister's support has been slowly eroding over the summer as the government embarked on a series of unpopular economic reforms. The most significant of these, a bill to double the consumption tax by 2015 in order to reduce the deficit, made it through the Diet just before the summer session was brought to an early close. An election is expected in the next few months.

This comes at a time when the government has been undertaking a major review of energy policy. This will almost certainly recommend a significant drop in Japan's dependence on nuclear power and an increase in renewable energy to make up at least some of the shortfall. The questions are how big the reduction should be and how quickly it should be done. With nuclear safety a major public concern, this is likely to be a significant part of the election debate.

The election result could have an impact on the recently published Japan Revitalisation Plan, described in detail below. This sets out some of the government.s thinking for adapting to the challenges and opportunities faced by the Japanese economy. With recent official figures suggesting a drop of 1.2% in industrial output in July, there is an intense focus on diversifying the economy and reviving industrial innovation to improve the global competitiveness of the economy.

"Green Growth" and "Life Growth" are highlighted in an attempt to diversify the economy away from over-dependence on sectors that are currently struggling. There is a recognition of the need for both public and private investment in R&D to support innovation, together with building and strengthening
internationalisation of the science and technology sector.

How far the plan will be followed through remains to be seen: The result of the election is difficult to predict, with the possible impact on the current energy review, revitalisation plan and other science and technology-related initiatives uncertain. However there is broad political consensus for the importance of
science, technology and innovation to the future health of the economy. The details of plans may change, but the general principle of support for R&D should remain.

Ed Thomson

Science and Innovation Consul
British Consulate General, Osaka



Contact S&I Section: tel: +81 3 5211 1100 fax: +81 3 3230 4800 email: [email protected], or [email protected]
Visit our web site (direct links below)

The information in this document is believed correct at the time of distribution. However, HM Government accepts no liability for any loss or
damage incurred as a result of any inaccuracies, howsoever caused.

Exchange rate used for conversion: GBP 1 = JPY 130

1. Editorial
2. Article
3. Reports
4. News Headlines from the Japanese S&I Press
a. Science and Innovation Policy
Covers government policy in all science & innovation sectors
b. IT and Communications
Covers news and developments in the IT & Communications sector
c. Life Sciences
Covers news and developments in the life sciences sector including
healthcare, biomedical sciences and plant science
d. Energy and Environment
Covers news and developments in the energy and environment sector
e. Engineering
Covers new and developments in the engineering sector including
automotive, aerospace , robotics, etc
5. Forthcoming Events
Includes new calendar of international S&I related events in Japan