For Defense, Japan Seeks Brain-Machine Interface, Other Cutting-Edge Tech

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The main gate of the Defense Ministry is seen in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo.

The Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that it plans to utilize cutting-edge technologies such as the brain-machine interface (BMI), which directly links the human brain and machines, in its first guidelines outlining the technological areas that must be enhanced to strengthen defense capabilities.

The guidelines list 12 key technological fields, such as unmanned systems and cyber defense, and emphasize the need to work on “ensuring technological superiority in the future” more than 10 years away.

The ministry aims to utilize the research and development being conducted by other ministries in a comprehensive manner for the nation’s security policy.

BMI is a technology that reads electrical signals running through neural circuits in the brain to operate machinery and it is envisioned that this technology could be used to enable a single person to control a large number of drones.

Another cutting-edge area is electromagnetic shielding technology, which is said to be able to deal with attacks by drones even in large numbers.

The guidelines also indicate the need for 3D hologram projection technology, aiming to acquire the ability to make fictitious information appear as if it were real.

The government indicated its policy in three key security documents, including the National Security Strategy revised last December, that “a whole-of-government mechanism will be established to match research and development needs based on the views of the Ministry of Defense with the appropriate technological seeds possessed by relevant ministries and agencies.”

The Defense Ministry hopes that the contents of the guidelines will be reflected in the budget requests that each ministry will make in the summer for the compilation of next year’s draft budget.