1. Home
  2. Our R&D Area

Our R&D Area

Today, we are seeing changes in social structure, such as smaller household size and dissemination of social media, as well as the transformation of private and public spheres brought on by these changes. Accompanying these changes, new issues have come to the fore such as harms and accidents involving personal space and relationships in the home, schools, workplace and on the Internet, and these have become new problems from the standpoint of safety and security in the society.
In this R&D focus area, we are promoting R&D to contribute to the proposal of systems and technologies to create mechanisms and assist activities whereby the public and private spheres can engage in collaborative discovery, intervention and support to prevent and resolve these problems. This is a new area of R&D for fiscal 2015.

Reducing and preventing harms in hard-to-discover spaces through public-private collaboration

In recent years in Japan, the number of officially recognized crimes has declined, but cases where victims experience ongoing violence in places such as the home, workplace or school, and incidents and bullying deriving from relationships in cyberspace, have come to the fore and become a new problem in terms of safety and security in the society. Also, while there is a decline in accidents which occur in public spaces such as traffic accidents, there are an increasing number of accidents in the home such as falls and drowning. In cases such as these, problems are manifesting themselves in private spaces and relationships which are hard to discover or intervene in from outside.
The background for why these problems are manifesting themselves involves changes in social structure̶such as smaller and older households, isolation of individuals from the local community, dissemination/growth of the Internet and social media, and the transformation of private and public spheres brought on by such changes̶ and the inability of existing safety functions (prevention/support functions provided by the legal system, public agencies, households and the local community) to fully cope with these changes.
The previous approach was to leave the private sphere to self-help and self-determination, but there is rising public concern and awareness of human rights, and social support and intervention are gradually expanding at a variety of levels. A need has arisen for R&D to contribute to early discovery and solution of the primary causes of harm infliction/victimization in the private sphere, and the associated risks, by using science and technology such as sensors and robots. From the perspective of social support, the relationship between the private and public spheres is changing. On the other hand, there are also cases where institutions such as the legal system act as a barrier to providing social support.
Furthermore, there is progress in the transformation toward realization of a more desirable super-cyber society and the integration of cyberspace and real space, as indicated in the discussions for the 5th Science and Technology Basic Plan by the Council for Science and Technology of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). This process has a strong relationship with changes in personal space, relationships and concepts of privacy, and at the same time, it is expected that, from the technological side, approaches such as using big data analysis technology will facilitate the prediction and discovery of incidents and accidents, etc.
Therefore, in this R&D focus area, we are promoting R&D to contribute, through public/personal cooperation, to the discovery of harms and accidents in spaces/relationships which are difficult to discover or intervene in, and to the creation of mechanisms and associated activities which enable reduction and prevention of such problems by prediction, intervention and aftercare.

Specific goals in this focus area are as follows:
(A) In light of the trend toward smaller and older households, and the transformation of the private sphere due to the expansion of cyberspace, the aim is propose, based on actual problems and needs, new techniques to contribute to the reduction and prevention of harms and accidents in spaces and relationships which are difficult to discover and intervene in. (B) Based on these results, systems and policies will be proposed for reducing harms and accidents in spaces and relationships which are difficult to discover and intervene in. Information on feasibility will also be presented. (C) To ensure that the presented efforts and measures are continually implemented, a network shall be built for sharing ideas and approaches relating to adoption of these techniques, from the perspective of ability to integrate with social systems.