Japan needs to rapidly expand its computing power as it vies to become a global leader in artificial intelligence, said Hideki Murai, a special AI adviser to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

"The government's key priority is computing power. We feel a real sense of crisis about that," Murai, a ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker who heads the government's AI strategy team, said in an interview on Tuesday. "We want to create the foundations for an AI era."

Japan, the world's third-largest economy, has been slow to invest in the field, and lags the United States in AI computer infrastructure. Some 3,000 companies in Japan have access to a supercomputer at the government's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) offering 0.8 exaflops of computing power.