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Japan faces pressure to make proactive moves in the quantum field

By IQT News posted 25 Jan 2022

(Nikkei) Japan will revamp its national quantum technology strategy, aiming to become self-sufficient in the area as the U.S. and China continue to make progress on mastering the critical next-generation technology. IQT-News summarizes the recent Asia Nikkei article here:
The current strategy focuses on basic research by such institutions as universities. Tokyo will now look beyond that and cultivate industry through such measures as support for startups. An expert panel met Monday to start mapping out the changes, which the government aims to approve by June.
Bulking up the quantum sector at home will be central. As the global semiconductor shortage has put a greater focus on economic security, Japan will look to shift toward domestic production of quantum encryption equipment, such as photon detectors, for which it now relies on outside sources. Building domestic supply chains for other components will be a priority as well.
But quantum computing requires a wide range of technology, including processors, control and measuring devices, and manufacturing equipment. Gaining the capability to compete on all of these fronts will be a significant challenge.
The U.S. and China now hold a clear lead. “In quantum computing, quantum communication, and quantum sensing — three consequential subfields within quantum information science (QIS) traditionally led by American researchers — China is catching up and, in some cases, has already overtaken America,” according to a December report from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
While Japan more than doubled quantum-related investment in its fiscal 2022 budget to 80 billion yen ($700 million), it still has a long way to go to catch up.
“We can’t win against the rest of the world on state funding alone,” a government source said, echoing a common concern over budgetary limitations in Tokyo. Japan will need to attract private-sector funding to better support startups in the field — or risk falling behind as it did with digital technologies.
The new strategy also outlines plans toward turning the idea of a quantum internet into reality. With countries including U.S. already laying the groundwork for the technology, Japan faces pressure to make proactive moves in the quantum field.

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