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Message from the President

Science and technology in Japan is now facing significant challenges. As various data suggest, in recent years Japanese science and technology has fallen in international standing. This trend is also manifesting itself in the production of intellectual property, raising concerns over its eventual impact on industry competitiveness. Furthermore, it is inevitable that due to our rapidly aging society, Japan will see a declining population of young and mid-career talents capable of taking on leadership roles in the future. Unless swift action is taken to address these issues, the future direction of science and technology in Japan is not positive.

In order to advance the Science and Technology Basic Plan of the Government, the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) implements a wide range of programs, including research and development strategies, funding, regional revitalization projects, human resources development, and international cooperation. Our current operations alone, however, will not be able to resolve the challenges that lie before us. We are currently engaged in an organization-wide effort towards “Challenge for Change” under the “HAMAGUCHI Plan”, our reform initiative aimed at making JST’s programs and operations befitting of a world-leading, network-based research institute.

For example, last year JST launched the JST-Mirai R&D Program, which establishes clear technology targets for realizing an ideal society and decisively carries out challenging research and development. This year, we will expand this program and make full use of our many other programs with the aim of reversing the downward trend and helping overcome the sense of stagnation facing Japan.

In particular, we believe that in order to restore vitality and strengthen diversity and convergence within Japanese science and technology, it is vital to facilitate junior and women researchers to conduct research actively and openly, across different sectors and academic disciplines. It is likewise essential to incorporate world-class knowledge and talent through the extensive promotion of internationalization.

Research and development, as well as innovation creation models, are shifting towards an increasingly open format. In this process, JST will further press forward with full-fledged and sustainable industry-academia collaboration based at various research sites, drawing on preceding examples such as the Center of Innovation (COI) Program.

Through these activities we will contribute to establishing a robust innovation ecosystem, realizing Society 5.0 as outlined in the 5th Science and Technology Basic Plan, and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2015.

We are grateful for your support and cooperation in these endeavors.

January 2018
President Michinari HAMAGUCHI, M.D., Ph.D.