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Japan's Plan to Double It's R&D Budget is on Track

July 18, 1997

Japan is on schedule to double the government's R&D investment by the year 2000, according to a June 13 National Science Foundation Issue Brief.

Japan originally declared in 1992 its intent to double the amount of funding provided for R&D. In line with this goal, the Japanese government approved an R&D budget increase of 12.5% in 1996 and a 6.8% increase in 1997. If this expansion continues, annual government R&D funding will be approximately $18 billion in the year 2000, double the 1992 budget in constant dollars.

In relative terms, Japan's total R&D investment (both public and private) is approximately the same size as the U.S. Japan invested 2.6% of its GDP in 1994 in comparison to the U.S. investment of 2.5%. However, the proportion of government funds within the nation's R&D budget is considerably smaller. The government of Japan provides only 20% of the total R&D budget, whereas the average industrial nation funds between 35-40% of the total budget.

The increase in the Japanese Government's spending is focused on strengthening Japan's human and physical infrastructure for basic science, particularly within universities. Japan plans to expand doctoral programs and create centers of excellence in research. Japan is also having more of a presence on the international research scene, participating in projects like the Human Genome Project, the European Center for Nuclear Research, and the Ocean Drilling Program.

A free copy of the issue brief can be obtained by calling 703/306-1773, or it can be located on the web at http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/issuebrf/ib.htm