(6) Promotion of Science, Technology and Innovation, and Research and Development
Amidst the globalization and growing openness of research and development through the rapid development of ICT, science, technology, and innovation are undergoing fundamental transformations.
The international community attaches importance to international cooperation that harnesses the power of science, technology, and innovation, even in the implementation of the SDGs that require comprehensive solutions by 2030 for a wide range of issues covering economy, society, and environment. In light of this, there is a call for more strategic and proactive efforts in science and technology diplomacy.
In order to utilize Japan's superior science and technology in diplomacy, Dr. Teruo Kishi, Professor Emeritus of the University of Tokyo, was appointed as the first Science and Technology Advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2015. He acts as an advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and his role includes providing advice and recommendations to utilize the science and technology of Japan for international cooperation and contributing to tackling global issues.
As the SDGs move into the implementation phase, the Science and Technology Advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs submitted the “Recommendation for the Future (STI as a Bridging Force to Provide Solutions for Global Issues: Four Actions of Science and Technology Diplomacy to Implement the SDGs)” to then Foreign Minister Kishida in May 2017. This recommendation, prepared by the Advisory Board for the Promotion of Science and Technology Diplomacy, takes the viewpoint of how international cooperation can contribute to the achievement of the SDGs in the future through science, technology, and innovation (STI). The recommendations emphasized the importance of presenting a future vision achieved through innovation, solving problems through data utilization, public-private partnership on the global level, and human resources development. The contents of the recommendation were also reflected in presentations delivered by then Foreign Minister Kishida at the second STI Forum and its related events organized by the United Nations in May the same year, and the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) organized by the UN Economic and Social Council in July the same year.
In addition to this, as a major program for Japan's science and technology diplomacy, the Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) program* linking ODA and the science and technology budget was launched in 2008 and by 2017 had adopted 125 joint research projects in 47 countries around the world.
Another effort of Japan involves strengthening assistance for overseas engineering universities to develop next-generation networks that are based on cooperation for human resources development. In Malaysia, an institution of higher education offering Japanese-style engineering education, the Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT), was founded as a culmination of the Look East Policy(Note 6) initiated in 1982. Japan provides support to MJIIT by purchasing equipment and supplies for education and research as well as developing curriculums. Japan also collaborates with 26 universities in Japan to extend cooperation for establishing curriculums, dispatching Japanese faculty, and other objectives.
In addition, Japan provides contributions to the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), an international organization located in Thailand and one of Asia's leading graduate schools offering Master's and PhD programs at the School of Engineering and Technology, the School of Environment, Resources and Development, and other faculties. Japan's contributions are used to provide scholarships to students studying remote sensing (satellite image analysis) in courses taught by Japanese instructors, and contributes to human resources development in the field of remote sensing that utilizes artificial satellites constituting the crux of the space industry development in the Asian region.
In Egypt, since 2008 Japan has supported the operations of the Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST), a public university based on the concept of “graduate school, research-centered, pragmatic, and international-standard education for a small number of students,” drawing on the features of Japanese-style engineering education. Fifteen universities in Japan have collaborated to dispatch faculty and staff to Egypt to provide lecture and research guidance, and support curriculum development. Through an all-Japan effort, Japan aims to share its science and technology education practices with Africa and the Middle East.
Japan also conducts a program to increase the adoption of Japanese companies' technologies that are useful for the socio-economic development of developing countries. This program is expected to help promote the adoption of Japanese private companies' advanced technological capabilities and diverse know-how in partner countries.
- *Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS)
- SATREPS makes use of both Japan's outstanding science and technologies and ODA to conduct research to solve global issues relating to the environment and energy, bio-resources, disaster risk reduction, and infectious diseases. Research institutes in developing countries and in Japan work together to implement international joint research with the goal of utilizing the research outcomes (disseminating research outcomes in society). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and JICA, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), and the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED), provide support to research institutes and researchers in Japan and partner countries.
- Note 6: The Look East Policy is Malaysia's human resources development policy advocated in 1981 by then Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad of Malaysia, with the objective of studying Japan's development experience, work ethic, management philosophy, among other dimensions.