The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology (MEXT) recently released the outline of its FY2019 budget request for science and technology. The total requested amount was 1.168 trillion yen, an increase of 205.4 billion yen from the year before. Emphasis is placed on the realization of Society 5.0, the development of global innovative human resources, and the promotion of R&D to solve national and social issues.
As an attempt to equip one of world’s highest and largest global level research facility to realize Society 5.0, an additional 15 billion yen was requested to total 20.6 billion yen for the development of a new supercomputer to succeed KEI. 4.6 billion yen (an increase of 4.3 billion yen from FY2018) would be requested to build the next-generation synchrotron light facility (SLiT-J) in the city of Sendai. The project to create future society by promoting “high risk and high impact R&D,” requested 11 billion yen (an increase of 5.5 billion year from FY2018).
In the field of human resources development, the ministry had launched a strategic project to foster global researchers which will require 600 million yen. For R&D aiming to solve national and social issues, the ministry requested 3.2 billion yen for the creation of N-net, a deep-sea earthquake and tsunami observation network to counter the anticipated Great Nankai Trough Earthquake. Along the Nankai Trough coasts, such observation networks are already operated off the shores of Kii Peninsula (which stretches over Wakayama, Nara and Mie Prefectures), but the government will keep a close eye on unmonitored open areas off the shores of Kochi Prefecture towards Hyuganada, close from the eastern shores of Miyazaki Prefecture.
For national strategic technology, the ministry requested 98 billion yen for the R&D of next-generation H3 rocket and satellite. This amount was a 25.1 billion yen increase from FY2018. For the decommissioning of the fast-breeder reactor Monju, which requires removal of spent nuclear fuels, the ministry requested 17.9 billion yen.