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Science and Technology Research Project

1. Science, Technology, and the Diet

National Political Issues Involving Science and Technology

Science and technology are a ubiquitous part of everyday life, affecting things like health, medicine, energy, information, and communications. New developments in science and technology can bring about economic growth and higher standards of living as well as otherwise contribute to the advancement of human civilization. Yet often these developments are accompanied by unforeseen legal, social, and ethical issues. Science and technology are among Japan’s most crucial national policy issues and are something to which each and every one of us must give due consideration.

Legislative Activities Involving Science and Technology

The Diet deliberates legislation and budget initiatives related to science and technology to deal with national science and technology issues. In recent years, the number of bills related to science and technology proposed by Diet members has increased.

The Need for Information on Science and Technology

Science and technology are now more diversified and more sophisticated than ever before, which makes accurate and objective information about scientific and technological issues all the more essential. The Diet has a growing need for such information to be used in drafting legislation and allocating funding for science and technology initiatives.

Organizations in Other Countries

In other countries, there are examples setting science and technology policy research organizations situated within the legislative branch of the governments; the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) in the United Kingdom, the Technology Assessment Bureau (Büro für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung beim Deutschen Bundestag (TAB)) in Germany, and the Parliamentary Office for Evaluation of Scientific and Technological Options (Office parlementaire d'évaluation des choix scientifiques et technologiques (OPECST)) in France. In the United States, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) serves a similar role.

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2. Science and Technology Policy Research by the Research and Legislative Reference Bureau

The Research and Legislative Reference Bureau (RLRB) of the National Diet Library is responsible for providing the Diet with the Legislative Research and Information Services. The Services include conducting research into a wide range of national policy matters at the request of individual Diet members, official committees of the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors, or political parties, and also publishing a large number of reports based on the results of research. The RLRB takes full advantage of the vast information resources of the National Diet Library in performing research activities from an objective and politically neutral perspective. The RLRB also makes its reports available to the general public.
In an effort to further improve science- and technology-related research provided by the Legislative Research and Information Services, the RLRB created in April 2010 a Science and Technology Research Office (STRO) as part of its Education, Culture, Science and Technology Division.
The RLRB is also an associate member of the European Parliamentary Technology Assessment (EPTA), an international network of parliamentary science and technology policy institutions. Through this affiliation, the RLRB aims to enhance its research expertise and expand its human network through interaction and information exchange with other member organizations.

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3. The Science and Technology Research Project

The creation of STRO in April 2010 was also the start of a Science and Technology Research Project, in which outside experts are invited to participate in joint research and analysis on topics related to key national policy issues pertaining to science and technology. The results of this research are published and distributed to Diet members and other relevant parties as well as to the general public.
For each of the research topics examined under the Science and Technology Research Project, a technological overview of the subject matter, existing regulatory systems, trends in current research, known issues, and future directions are presented in an objective and accurate summary that addresses the anticipated effects on society as well as potential systems and political options for responding to emerging challenges, thereby providing Diet Members with information useful to deliberation of legislation and policy. Studies are also made of the systems and deliberations held in other countries. Reports published by the Science and Technology Research Project comprise a comprehensive overview of the basic science and technology as well as its potential social and political impact.
Given the broad range of scientific and technological subject matter covered in these reports, the cooperation of a wide variety of experts is indispensable in providing Diet members with useful results. Thus, STRO attaches great importance to the building and maintenance of its network with universities, research institutes, academic societies, and other organizations.

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4. Research Framework

The planning committee of the Science and Technology Research Project selects multiple research topics each year in coordinating overall research. Research on these topics is then either undertaken by in-house researchers or outsourced to outside research organizations and published as written reports. Current framework of the Project is as follows.

Research by In-House Researchers

Teams of RLRB researchers investigate policy issues related to science, technology, and other associated topics.

Analysis-Driven Research

Analysis-Driven Research on subject matter that is of relevance to pressing problems is outsourced to outside research organizations by the RLRB. Analysis from a variety of perspectives is provided by interdisciplinary teams of outside experts, who conduct research while periodically exchanging opinions with in-house researchers as they put together written reports.

Debate-Driven Research

Debate-Driven Research on mid- and long-term research topics is outsourced to outside research organizations, which organize workshops and symposiums with the participation of outside experts of different specializations, in order to provide a comprehensive overview of the subject matter through the debate.

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5. Research Topics

Since its creation, the Science and Technology Research Project has conducted research on policy issues related to science and technology, including comprehensive overviews of subject matter as well as specialized studies of individual topics.

Fiscal Year Title
2023 Considering Japan's Space Policy: What Should Be Done in the Next Ten Years?
Technology and Its Social Implementation in the Digital Era
Materials Science: The State of the Art and Future Options
2022 Issues and Prospects of Decarbonization Technology to Achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2050
International Trends and Issues in the Utilization of Space
Risk Communication regarding Science and Technology: New Challenges and Developments
2021 Genome Editing Technologies: Issues arising on the frontline and future prospects
Technologies for Decarbonized Society and Related Issues
Quantum Information Technologies
2020 Trends and Issues of Social Media in the Era of Coronavirus
Genome-Editing Technology and Its Impact
Technologies to Assist Older People and Related Social Issues
2019 Fostering Future Researchers in Support of the Science-and-Technology-Oriented-Nation Concept
Trends and Issues of Social Media
Science, Technology and Innovation Policy beyond 2020
2018 Forecast and Response to Extreme Weather
Infrastructure Maintenance Technology
Current Trends in Biometrics
2017 Trends and Issues of Autonomous Driving Technology
Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence / Robotics and Work / Employment
Infrastructure for the Data-Driven Society
Policy Decisions and Scientific Literacy
2016 Transformation of Science and Technology Policies in the Post-Cold War Era
International Trends in Space Policies
2015 Aspects in Life Sciences
Frontiers in Life Sciences: Progress and Ethical Issues in Research and Development
2014 Aspects of Information and Communication
Advances in Information and Communication Technology and Cyber Security
2013 Aspects of Renewable Energy
Science and Technology Policies of Renewable Energy
2012 Aspects of Ocean Development
Science and Technology Policies on Offshore Resources and Ocean Energy
2011 State Promotion of Research and Development: Support for Higher Education Institutions and Public Research Institutions
2010 International Trends in Science & Technology Policy

Contact Us

1-10-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8924 JAPAN
Science and Technology Research Office (STRO)
Education, Culture, Science and Technology Division
Research and Legislative Reference Bureau
National Diet Library