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Artificial Intelligence and Future Socioeconomic Strategy Headquarters: Industry, academia and government collaborate on artificial intelligence

April 28, 2016

On April 28, the Party's Artificial Intelligence and Future Socioeconomic Strategy Headquarters (Chairperson: Ryu Shionoya, Executive Acting Chairperson, Policy Research Council) submitted recommendations to Prime Minister and Party President Shinzo Abe for strengthening research and development in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). The government will incorporate the recommendations into its "Basic Policy on Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform" and growth strategy, and they will also be part of the LDP manifesto for the upcoming House of Councillors election.

The document is titled "Emergency Recommendations," and it advocates "providing the momentum and backing for bold, innovative efforts to achieve a series of results suitable for social implementation and ensure continued growth towards a bright and promising future" as it prepares for "Society 5.0," the new advances to be brought about by information technology.

Specific policy recommendations include the creation of a "control tower" under the strong leadership of Prime Minister Abe to provide for close coordination across government agencies and companies.

In light of the large amounts being invested in AI research and development in Europe and North America, the recommendations advocate quadrupling the government research and development budget to 100 billion yen.

The document also highlights eight specific areas for collaboration among industry, academia, and government. They include making active use of AI in the health, medicine, and nursing care areas to better understand and treat difficult diseases, training software developers to create new value, and establishing an "AI/IoT" special zone to serve as one of the most advanced demonstration environments in the world.

The Strategy Headquarters was established as a Party Constitution Article 79 Organ and reports directly to Party President Shinzo Abe. The impetus was the growing attention being given to AI and its uses. It has already held a number of hearings with experts and personnel from relevant ministries and agencies.

Chairperson Shionoya said during a meeting on April 26 to finalize the recommendations, "Going forward, we are going to see a need for AI in many different situations. We need to move forward and not fall behind the rest of the world." Having articulated the importance of both research and development and also social implementation, he expressed his commitment to following up and ensuring that the artificial intelligence recommendations are executed.

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