(Mainichi: June 19, 2016 – p.6)
The government’s Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe) released on June 18 a report on “Comprehensive Strategy on Science, Technology and Innovation,” a guideline for Japan’s research and development, and added the Defense Ministry as a government office in charge of robot development for the first time. The government explained that “as inter-ministerial cooperation is in progress, the Defense Ministry that studies relevant technologies can play its own role.”
The Defense Ministry is now on the list of government entities to work on one of the priority tasks, “creating a strong society that can survive natural disasters.” The council report suggests the need for the Defense Ministry to tackle the issue with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.
The report also says: “As technology is diverse, the achievements of research and development for a specific purpose can be utilized for other purposes as well; therefore, it is important to appropriately use such R&D achievements.” When the expert panel drafted the report at the end of last month, it did not incorporate this wording or refer to the Defense Ministry, but these were reportedly added subsequently.
Other critical subjects are: to make agriculture, forestry, and fisheries a growth strategy; promotion of science and technology that contribute to regional revitalization; and to increase opportunities for young and female researchers to challenge. These subjects will be adopted by the Cabinet on June 19 to have them reflected in the growth strategy. The Defense Ministry has developed a system to remote-control vehicle to remove debris in disaster scenes with its own budget request, in addition to the comprehensive strategy.