The education ministry has chosen the 12 regions in which it will introduce a program to support technological innovation, centered on regional universities and research institutions.

It has also designated another six areas as experimental sites for the program.

The initiative aims to create complexes in various areas nationwide in line with efforts to promote science and technology at a regional level beginning this fiscal year, according to officials at the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry.

The initiative seeks to capitalize on the unique characteristics of each region in fostering advances in information technology and biotechnology, along with other sectors, they said.

The regions in question were selected from applications submitted by local governments in 30 areas.

The ministry will provide each of the 12 regions with about 500 million yen in aid over a five-year period, although these funds can be canceled if no real achievement is seen in a midterm evaluation conducted after the first three years, the officials said.

The officials did not elaborate in terms of the specific projects the money will be used to fund.

The six trial sites will receive about 100 million yen in annual aid, with the ministry re-evaluating the regions’ feasibility within three years.

The 12 regions include areas in and around the cities of Sapporo, Sendai, Kyoto, Osaka, Kitakyushu and Fukuoka, according to the officials.

Of these, Kitakyushu Science and Research Park and the neighboring Fukuoka region are set to establish a technological development structure tieup.

The six trial sites include areas in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture; Ogaki, Gifu Prefecture; and Nagoya.

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