Japan Prize

Fields Eligible

Fields Selection Committee for the 2018 Japan Prize

Chairman Makoto Asashima Vice President, Tokyo University of Science
Vice Chairman Kazuhito Hashimoto

President, National Institute for Materials Science

Vice Chairman Kohei Miyazono

Professor, Department of Molecular Pathology
Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo

Members Yozo Fujino

Distinguished Professor, Institute of Advanced Sciences
Yokohama National University

Ken Furuya

Department of Environmental Engineering for Symbiosis
Graduate School of Engineering, Soka University
Specially Appointed Professor,
Department of Global Agricultural Sciences, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Science, The University of Tokyo

Mariko Hasegawa

The Graduate University for Advanced Studies

Masaru Kitsuregawa Director General, National Institute of Informatics
Professor, Institute of Industrial Science, the University of Tokyo
Michiharu Nakamura

Counselor to the President,
Japan Science and Technology Agency
Director, The Japan Prize Foundation

Yuichi Sugiyama

Head, Sugiyama Laboratory, RIKEN Innovation Center

Mariko Takahashi

Science Coordinator, The Asahi Shimbun

Masayuki Yamamoto

Director General, National Institute for Basic Biology

Adviser Kazuo Kyuma

Executive Member,
Council for Science, Technology and Innovation, Cabinet Office

(alphabetical order, titles as of June, 2017)


The 2018 Japan Prize

Area: “Physics, Chemistry and Engineering”
Field Eligible: “Resources, Energy, Environment and Social Infrastructure”

Background and Rationale:

A major goal for humankind is the realization of the sustainable development of our society while overcoming various limitations in resources, energy, and the environment, as affirmed by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. Widening social disparity and the increasing number of communities vulnerable to disasters are of growing concern, as the impact of climate change accumulates and urbanization intensifies.

Thus, we are in serious need of further innovation in the effective development, utilization and recycling of water and resources, various energy-related technologies, and social infrastructure technologies for cities and transportation systems. Another key challenge is to spur innovation in fundamental technologies for the realization of a resilient society capable of predicting and responding to environmental changes, as well as of preventing and mitigating natural and human made disasters.

 Achievement Eligible:

The 2018 Japan Prize in the field of “Resources, Energy, Environment and Social Infrastructure” is awarded to an individual(s) who has achieved breakthroughs in the creation, innovation, development or dissemination of science and technology, thereby contributing towards the sustainability of human society and the improvement of the global environment.

Area: “Life Science, Agriculture and Medicine”
Field Eligible: “Medical Science and Medicinal Science”

Background and Rationale:

In recent years, developments in modern science have brought about remarkable advancements in the field of medical science and medicinal science. Revolutionary medical technologies like individually optimized precision medicine driven by personalized diagnosis and genomic medicine, and regenerative medicine have been established one after another, alongside the elucidation of pathological mechanisms for various diseases. While diseases associated with aging and changes in lifestyle are on the rise, emerging infectious diseases and resistant bacteria, fueled by globalization, have also become a worldwide issue.

In such times of change, it is highly anticipated that medical science and medicinal science, integrated with other disciplines like engineering and information science, will make a greater contribution towards healthy living. These include the creation and spread of new medical treatments, the development and production of new drugs as well as the development of drug delivery systems.

Achievement Eligible:

The 2018 Japan Prize in the field of “Medical Science and Medicinal Science” is awarded to an individual(s) who has achieved scientific and technological breakthroughs, such as new discoveries or the development of innovative technologies on the “prevention”, “diagnosis”, “treatment” or “prognosis” of diseases, thereby contributing towards the health and well-being of mankind.



Fields for the 2017 Japan Prize

Areas of “Physics, Chemistry and Engineering”
Fields Eligible: “Electronics, Information, Communication”

Background and Rationale:

In recent years, we have seen new waves of technological development from devices to systems, in various fields of electronics, information and communication, such as artificial intelligence, big data, IoT, next generation network, robotics and energy utilization. In particular, innovation derived from the rapid and efficient utilization of large data generated across broad areas is anticipated to spawn new cultures, lifestyles and types of manufacturing, thereby contributing enormously to the advancement of our society.

Meanwhile, the various incidental phenomena that are threatening the safety and security of our lives can no longer be ignored, making the development of technological solutions an urgent matter.


Achievement Eligible:

The 2017 Japan Prize in the field of “Electronics, Information and Communication” will be awarded to an individual(s) who has achieved scientific and technological breakthroughs, such as development of essential technologies or systems that contribute significantly and widely to the creation of new industries, to the innovation of manufacturing technologies, to the advancement of information and knowledge driven society, and to the assurance of our society’s safety and security, as well as basic research and development that is highly likely to drive the future advancement of our society.

Areas of “Life Science, Agriculture and Medicine”
Field Eligible: “Life Science”

Background and Rationale:

The field of life science has been increasingly expanding and deepening in recent years, leading to remarkable advances in our understanding of life itself.

For example, genome and epigenome analysis using next-generation sequencing, OMICs analysis using mass spectrometry, molecular and morphological analysis using super-resolution microscopy or three-dimensional electron microscopy, and various analyses using genome editing techniques are progressing at an incredible pace. Such innovative analysis technologies have contributed to numerous revolutionary discoveries.

While we must respect bioethics and handle personal information very carefully, the advancement of our understanding of the life phenomenon will be of tremendous benefit to humanity and lead to the creation and spread of new fields of medicine in the future.


Achievement Eligible:

The 2017 Japan Prize in the field of “Life Science” will be awarded to an individual(s) who has achieved scientific and technological breakthroughs, such as the discovery of new life phenomena and innovation in analysis techniques that facilitate the elucidation of biological functions, thereby contributing significantly to our society.


Schedule (2018-2020)

The fields eligible for the Japan Prize (2018 to 2020) have been decided for the two research areas, respectively.
These fields rotate every year in a three year cycle.
Every year the Fields Selection Committee announces the eligible field for the next three years.

Area of Physics, Chemistry and Engineering   Area of Life Science, Agriculture and Medicine
Eligible Fields Year Eligible Fields
Resources, Energy, Environment and Social Infrastructure 2018 Medical Science, Medicinal Science
Materials, Production 2019 Biological Production, Biological Environment
Electronics, Information and Communication 2020 Life Science

More about the Japan Prize

2016 Japan Prize Press Conference

30 Years of Japan Prize

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