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Eleven Japanese companies, including Toshiba Corp., plan to jointly launch a council this summer in a bid to create a new industry using quantum technology, the companies said Monday.

The council will identify and discuss issues linked to quantum computers, quantum cryptography and other base technologies, as well as those on related human resources and rules, with an aim to explore the possibility of industrializing quantum technology, which is widely expected to play a key role in national security.

Quantum computers have much higher computing capabilities than conventional computers, while quantum cryptography theoretically makes wiretapping impossible.

With the council, the 11 companies, which also include Toyota Motor Corp. and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., hope to boost their presence at a time when U.S. and Chinese players are vying with each other in the research and development of quantum technology.

“This is an all-Japan system aimed at making the country a world innovation leader in quantum technology,” Toshiba President Satoshi Tsunakawa said at the council’s foundation meeting on Monday.

Also on Monday, online flea market operator Mercari Inc. said it has set up an organization for the research and development of quantum internet, jointly with Keio University and the University of Tokyo.

Quantum internet, which involves the exchange of quantum data, allows users to have safe communication, protecting them from prying eyes.

Mercari plans to encourage other companies to join the organization. Shota Nagayama, a senior researcher at Mercari, said, “We want more firms to join our efforts to accumulate knowledge.”

The new organization aims to put quantum internet into practical use on a trial basis in 15 years.

These moves highlight that industry-government-academia cooperation is gaining momentum in Japan over the research and development of quantum technology, which is applicable to many sorts of businesses.

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