The government is considering setting up a fund worth around ¥100 billion to finance scientific research that aims to achieve ambitious results, according to sources with knowledge of the plans.
The money will be put into a fund created for ambitious, exploratory and ground-breaking projects undertaken without any expectation of near-term profitability or benefit, for example, turning carbon dioxide into fuel or accurately predicting large earthquakes.
Money for the fund could be added to the draft of a supplementary budget for the current fiscal year ending in March, which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration plans to submit to an ordinary Diet session beginning in January.
The amount will be a significant expansion from the ¥7 billion already requested by ministries for the same purpose in the budget.
According to the plans, the government will set up a panel to decide on a list of research topics for the fund to focus on. Researchers in both Japan and overseas will be eligible to apply and could receive funding for up to around 10 years.
The government has already set a record-high initial budget of ¥97.71 trillion for fiscal 2018. An earlier supplementary budget of ¥935.6 billion was enacted in November to boost recovery from a string of natural disasters.