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Economic revitalization minister Daishiro Yamagiwa on Sunday revealed a plan to set up a fund to support the development of cutting-edge technologies crucial for the country’s economic security.

“The government will fully support private-sector companies’ research and development activities for advanced technologies, and their efforts to prepare a business environment for such technologies,” he said during a television program.

The fund will likely be worth about ¥100 billion. The government will include the planned fund in a package of economic measures to be drawn up after the Oct. 31 Lower House election.

The fund is expected to help Japanese companies and universities develop artificial intelligence, quantum and robot technologies, biotechnology and other important tech, and put them into practical use.

“We cannot put the Japanese economy on a growth path unless we change the country’s industrial structure through technological development,” Yamagiwa said. “Both the public and private sectors should work hard.”

Yamagiwa also said the government’s requests for restaurants and bars to cut operating hours amid the coronavirus crisis may be entirely removed in November.

“We will consider fully lifting requests for shorter operating hours unless new infection cases increase again,” Yamagiwa said. “From November, people will possibly be able to live their lives with no coronavirus-related restrictions in place.”

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