Japan eyes domestically produced quantum computer

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Prime Minister’s Office

The government wants the first domestically produced quantum computer to be developed by the end of this fiscal year, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The target has been included in a draft of a new national strategy for quantum technology, which Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet has positioned as a pillar of its signature growth strategy named “new form of capitalism.”

The plan will be finalized this month at a meeting of the Integrated Innovation Strategy Promotion Council chaired by Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno.

According to government sources, the plan includes the establishment of quantum technology research and support centers at four locations in Japan, including Tohoku University. It also includes a target of having 10 million users of quantum technology in 2030.

Quantum technology harnesses the phenomena of quantum mechanics and can be used in computing to solve certain problems much faster than conventional supercomputers.

Encryption is also expected to benefit from quantum technology to develop ultra-secure communication infrastructure.

The draft of the new national strategy defines quantum tech as “a key technology that will be at the core of future competition for supremacy among states.”

It also states a need for Japan to possess advanced quantum technology and calls for continuous and stable human resource development and retention, emphasizing the importance of quantum technology in regard to economic security.

In addition to the establishment of a center to develop human resources at Tohoku University, research and support bases will be launched at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), and the National Institute for Quantum Science and Technology (QST).

Government funding will be utilized to support the development of new industries and nurture startups.

As well as aiming for 10 million quantum tech users by 2030, the government wants to transform the sector into a ¥50 trillion industry.

To boost productivity and safety, the government wants quantum technology to be widely incorporated into social and economic infrastructures, including finance, health care, transportation and aviation.

The government has also drafted a national strategy on artificial intelligence, calling for the creation of virtual environments that reproduce real-world experiences so that hypothetical scenarios can be investigated.

The technology will be used to predict the impact of such scenarios as an earthquake directly under the Tokyo metropolitan area or a future pandemic. The draft also stated that the technology could be utilized for civil protection in emergencies such as armed conflicts.