Since Japan has been one of the leading countries in science, technology and innovation for many decades, a closer look at its science diplomacy strategy is worthwhile. The Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office’s Council for Science and Technology Policy (CSTP) published the report “Toward the reinforcement of Science and Technology Diplomacy” in 2008 that described a clear link between science and technology and foreign policy and pleaded for mutual development. It insists that Japan’s science diplomacy place importance on strengthening (Atsushi Sunami, Tomoko Hamachi, and Shigeru Kitaba, 2013):
In 2011, the Japanese government released the 24th five-year national strategy on science, technology and innovation. Here, science diplomacy is mentioned as a task of strategic national significance. The strategy clearly points at using science diplomacy as a tool for strengthening Japan’s international competitiveness.
In 2015, the first science adviser to the minister of foreign affairs was appointed. This advisory system is expected to further strengthen Japan’s Science and Technology Diplomacy. In the same year, the Japanese government published various policies with direct connection to science diplomacy. On 16 October 2015, Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, adopted a national Arctic policy with unanimous support from his cabinet ministers. It declared Japan´s intention to address the negative impacts of environmental change by leveraging its strengths to enhance cross-border scientific and technological cooperation (i.e., science and technology diplomacy) and to incorporate the outcomes into design and implementation of national policy and international rule making. Moreover, to support the e adviser in his advisory activities, a Science and Technology Co-Advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs was commissioned in April 2019. On 1 April 2020, Prof. MATSUMOTO Yoichiro, the President of Tokyo University of Science, was appointed as the new Science and Technology Advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Apart from the contribution that science diplomacy makes to international relations and agreements, particularly with neighbours in the Asian region, but as well with partners in the whole world, science diplomacy is planned with a clear differentiation of potential partners. Science diplomacy is intended to support research with developing countries to find solutions for global challenges. In this context, Japan has been increasingly demonstrating its willingness to open up its scientific programs to foreign partners and to sponsor genuinely collaborative partnerships with developing countries. Furthermore, science diplomacy serves research cooperation with technologically advanced countries for joint efforts in developing future technologies. In line with this government policy, the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) has implemented a research exchange program known as the Strategic International Cooperative Program (SICP) since 2003. The main policy lines in science diplomacy of the Japanese government had an effect on other ministries, which have each published their own science diplomacy strategies.
|Read more about Japan’s science diplomacy here:
– Sunami, A. (2016), Japan’s Science and Technology Diplomacy (Link) (accessed 25 March 2020, published 10 February 2016).
– Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (n.d.), Global Issues & ODA- Science and Technology (Link)
– Atsushi Sunami, Tomoko Hamachi, and Shigeru Kitaba, “The Rise of Science and Technology Diplomacy in Japan,” Science & Diplomacy, Vol. 2, No. 1 (March 2013*) (Link)
– Yoko Kamikawa and Tomoko Hamachi, Japan’s Evolving Efforts toward Sustainable Development of the Arctic (Link) (September 2016)
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