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Speeches and Statements by the Prime Minister

Remarks by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Annual Meeting 2013 of the Science and Technology in Society (STS) Forum

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Kyoto, Japan
[Provisional Translation]

Chairman Omi, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, congratulations, on your 10th successful Annual Meeting. I am very glad to join you on this historic occasion.

Now, you are scientists. You are technology experts. Many of you are also professors. And one of the most important jobs for you is to examine and evaluate what you see and hear, isn't it?   .....Well, this is a dangerous territory for me.

So, I will be very much brief, introducing just a small number of points.

Point number one is a bitter lesson we have had to learn. We have learnt in the most painful way, the importance of STS, or "science and technology in society," by which I mean Fukushima, and its aftermath.

Let me tell you, we are now immune to N·I·H, or Not-Invented-Here syndrome. We are wide open to receiving the most advanced knowledge from overseas to contain the problem.

My country needs your knowledge, and your expertise, in tackling the on-going issue.

Point number two concerns a contribution that Japan's technology could make.

Just imagine, if steel mills in China or India adopted Japan's technology, they could reduce their emissions very much. They could cut in 2030 as much as 500 million tons of greenhouse gases.

That equates to 40 per cent of the emission that Japan as a whole is likely to make this year.

Carbon Fibre is another case in point. It is so strong that steel can be replaced with carbon fibre in cars. Carbon fibre is also so light that the more we use it for cars, the less gasoline we will have to consume.

One prediction holds that as a result, CO2 emission could be reduced by 4.7 billion tons as of the year 2050. That is four years' worth of the annual CO2 emission that Japan as a whole produces today.

And guess which country is the biggest producer of carbon fibre. Japan, with its market share of some 70 per cent.

Last time I was in office, I proposed that the world should cut its emissions by 50 per cent by the year 2050. Called the 50-50 plan, this grew to become an agreement that was adopted by the G8.

I still feel responsible. Last month, my government published a new, long-term roadmap towards the kinds of innovations necessary to cut emissions further.

To that end, we have decided to invest one hundred and ten billion dollars over the next five years by pooling both public and private financial resources.

To spread the innovations abroad, especially among the developing nations, we will seek a host of means, such as financial cooperation, joint crediting mechanism, and standardizations for energy conservation measures.

May I also announce that from next year on, back-to-back with your gathering, my government will host an annual global conference focusing on the innovation needed to reduce emissions.

For my part, I am determined to cut red tape. Deregulation holds the key for science and technology to play their part.

If I may cite just one example, the stem-cell technology pioneered by Professor Yamanaka should be brought much more easily to the patients' bed-side. Within this month, we will be proposing a new bill to break the red tape hindering this.

I am also determined to make Japan one of the most innovation-friendly countries, as I believe that the international society needs Japan's wisdom as much as Japan needs it from the rest of the world.

The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology should continue to attract scholars and students from abroad. The graduate school is Chairman Omi's brain child. Soon to be two years old, I am very much glad that it is making a steady growth, with scholars from 30 countries and students from 23.

To make Japan more open and more Shumpeterian, as it were, Japan's economy must be made more robust. Hence my economic reforms. Japan's international profile should be made more prominent. Hence my diplomacy.

On that note I will stop here. I must now fly to Indonesia for the APEC meetings. I look forward to discussing this subject further with my APEC colleagues.  Thank you very much.

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