From Bio Journal - January 2002

Japanese Government Establishes a Biotechnology Strategy HQ

On Oct. 22, 2001, the government of Japan announced the establishment of a Biotechnology Strategy Headquarters. This move was in line with a proposal named Practical Utilization of Biotechnology and Industrialization Promotion National Strategy (B-Japan) from the Japan Association of Bio-industries Executives (President Mr. Katsuhiro Utada, Senior Advisor to the Board of Ajinomoto Co., Inc.) at the Life Science Summit in Tokyo. A similar HQ called the Information Technology Strategy HQ was established during the Mori administration, and was the first national strategy HQ to be set up. The Biotechnology Strategy HQ will be set up within the cabinet, and it will be lead by Prime Minister Koizumi.

Increasing national budget for rice genome research

In spite of budget reductions for the ministry as a whole, MAFF has put in a budget request of 20.5 billion yen for biotechnology related spending, a 12% increase over last year. An especially conspicuous increase is noted for rice genome sequencing, the request being 6.3 billion yen, an increase of one billion yen. A further 700 million yen was added in supplementary budget requests. The rice genome sequencing project still lags behind that of the Swiss company Syngenta, but it is thought that the large budget requests have been made because of the potential for the development of GM rice and other crop varieties in the fundamental information derived from gene sequencing.

(English Index)