(Mainichi: December 11, 2015 – p. 2)
The government’s Council for Science, Technology and Innovation, which is chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, formulated on Dec. 10 a final draft report for the “Fifth Science and Technology Basic Plan” covering science and technology policy for a five-year period starting with the next fiscal year. The panel’s draft report includes eight numerical targets for items such as recruiting young researchers and promoting women’s empowerment, in addition to a spending target of 26 trillion yen, which accounts for 1% of Japan’s gross domestic product (GDP), for research and development by the government for five years.
The government has formulated a basic plan every five years based on the Science and Technology Basic Law. The draft report points out that “we have entered an age of revolutionary change in which the social and economic structure is shifting every day with the improvement of information and communication technology.” The report also advocates the need for “strengthening human resources” and “enhancing intellectual bases.”
In order to achieve these goals, the draft report incorporates eight numerical targets, such as “increasing by 10% the number of academics who are younger than 40 years old from the present 44,000” and “boosting the percentage of female natural science researchers hired from the current 25.4% to 30%.” In order to monitor the progress of policy implementation, the panel has established 21 checkpoints, such as the “ratio of female researchers recruited.” The spending target of 1% of GDP is the same as that of the present Fourth Science and Technology Basic Plan.
The draft report will be approved at the council’s meeting to be held as early as next week and expected to be adopted by the cabinet possibly next January.