METI to request 9.9% budget increase for fiscal 2019 aimed at promoting cashless payment, AI


The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will request a total budget of ¥1.4 trillion for fiscal 2019, up 9.9 percent from the previous year, sources with knowledge of the matter said Thursday.

With the increased budget for the year starting in April next year, the ministry aims to promote cashless transactions for small companies and the development of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence.

Specifically, the ministry plans to spend ¥3 billion to help small businesses and other entities introduce cashless payment terminals and to standardize quick response, or QR, codes that currently vary among companies, according to the sources.

For research and development of AI, next-generation computers and other technologies, the ministry hopes to allocate ¥27.9 billion.

It plans to spend ¥1.8 billion for the cultivation of human resources, promoting the provision of refresher programs, for example, the sources said.

To invigorate businesses in the field of social security, the ministry intends to boost spending to ¥2 billion from ¥600 million in fiscal 2018. It plans to fund experimental projects to offer products and services to support the lives of dementia patients.