Japan Data

Japan’s Science and Technology Research Spending at New High


Spending on science and technology research in 2017 in Japan reached a new record high. However, this total spending amounts to less than half that of the United States and China.

Japanese spending on science and technology research in 2017 rose 3.4% from the previous year to a record ¥19.05 trillion. This is the first increase in three years. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications’ Survey of Research and Development found that research spending was equivalent to 3.48% of GDP, a 0.05 point increase from 2016.

Corporate research spending was ¥13.79 trillion, representing more than 70% of the total, while academic research spending was ¥3.64 trillion, and non-profit/public organization research spending was ¥1.6 trillion.

By industry, manufacturing dominated with ¥11.98 trillion (86.8%), followed by academic research/specialized and technical services with ¥881.7 billion, then information and communications with ¥606.2 billion. Within the manufacturing industry, transportation machinery manufacturing had the largest spending with ¥3.06 trillion, then drug manufacturing with ¥1.46 trillion.

As of March 31, 2018, the number of researchers stood at 867,000, increasing for the second year running and up 1.6% from the previous year. The average spending per researcher was ¥21.97 million. The number of women researchers also rose by 4.5% to a new record of 150,500. Women accounted for 16.2% of total researchers, a 0.5 point increase from the previous year.

Compared with other major countries, Japan ranks third after the United States and China; however, the total amount of science and technology research spending in Japan is less than half that of both countries.

Comparison of Science and Technology Research Spending with G7 Countries, China, South Korea, and Russia

Research Spending ($ billion) Ratio of GDP (%) Number of Researchers (million people)
1 United States  511.1 South Korea  4.23 China  1.692
2 China  451.2 Japan  3.48 United States  1.380
3 Japan  191.3 Germany  2.98 Japan  0.676
4 Germany  118.2 United States  2.74 Russia  0.429
5 South Korea  79.4 France  2.25 Germany  0.401
6 France  62.2 China  2.11 South Korea  0.361
7 Britain  47.2 Britain  1.69 Britain  0.291
8 Russia  39.9 Canada  1.53 France  0.278
9 Italy  29.9 Italy  1.29 Canada  0.162
10 Canada  26.2 Russia  1.10 Italy  0.127

Number of researchers calculated on full-time equivalent. Compiled by Nippon.com based on excerpts from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications’ Survey of Research and Development.

Growing concerns over the decline of Japan’s science and technology capabilities due to reductions in related budgets have led the government to strengthen measures, including an increase of ¥8.6 billion for the 2019 Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research, which supports a wide range of academic research.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

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