Japan Prize

Fields Eligible

Fields Selection Committee for the 2019 Japan Prize

Chairman Makoto Asashima Research Professor, Teikyo University
Academic Advisor, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo
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

Professor, 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

President, SOKENDAI (The Graduate University for Advanced Studies)

Masaru Kitsuregawa Director General, National Institute of Informatics
Professor, Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo
Kazuo Kyuma President, NARO
Michiharu Nakamura

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

Yuichi Sugiyama

Head, Sugiyama Laboratory, RIKEN Baton Zone Program

Mariko Takahashi

Science Coordinator, The Asahi Shimbun

Masayuki Yamamoto

Director General, National Institute for Basic Biology

(alphabetical order, titles as of April, 2018)



The 2019 Japan Prize

Area: “Physics, Chemistry, Informatics, Engineering”
Field eligible: “Materials and Production”

Background and Rationale:

The discovery and development of new materials with non-conventional properties and the development of advanced production technologies have brought about numerous innovations, thereby contributing greatly to the sustainable development of our society and to the improvement of safety in social infrastructure.
For instance, we have designed and synthesized artificial materials, such as semiconductors, polymers, nanomaterials, catalysts and magnetic materials with new functions, as well as new types of super heat-resistant materials and high-specific-strength structural materials.
We have also developed new industrial technology, such as design and manufacturing technologies supported by computational and data science, high-resolution/high-precision measurement techniques and nanostructured precision control processes, along with robot technology that improves the efficiency of production processes. 
  In order to make effective use of finite resources and build a sustainable society for the future, we are in need of epoch-making innovations in the development of new functional materials and structural materials, as well as in industrial design, production and operation technologies.


Achievement Eligible:

The 2019 Japan Prize in the field of “Materials and Production” is awarded to an individual(s) who has made momentous scientific and technological breakthroughs by developing materials with new functions, developing new structural materials that support social infrastructure or improving technologies for industrial design, production and operation, which enable the creation of new products, services and industries that improve the quality, safety and security of people’s lives, thereby making a significant contribution to the sustainable development of society or to its potential for great advances in the future.

Area: “Life Science, Agriculture and Medicine”
Field eligible: “Biological Production, Ecology”

Background and Rationale:

As we experience a population explosion and face global environment changes, most notably global warming, overcoming environmental and food problems is critical for the sustainable development of our society. To achieve this, we must protect the environment, which is the cradle for biological production, and at the same time, increase its bioproductivity and ensure the ecologically harmonious use of biological resources.
Developments thus far have included advances in production technologies, the creation of environmentally adaptive breeds, the realization of environmentally harmonious biological production, as well as the harnessing of organisms’ ability to produce useful substances, and the enhancement of functionality in foods.
There is also a great need for the advancement of basic science and technological innovation in such areas as the conservation and restoration of the environment and the ecosystems, sustainable utilization of ecosystem service, and ecological forecasting.
In the future, collaboration across various fields, such as geoscience, the social sciences and the health/human life sciences, will be crucial in tackling the issues of biological production and utilization, ecology and the environment, which cannot be solved independently by any one discipline.


Achievement Eligible:

The 2019 Japan Prize in the field of “Biological Production, Ecology” is awarded to an individual(s) who has contributed significantly to the sustainable development of a society in harmonious coexistence with life and the environment, or to its potential for great advances in the future, through the establishment of innovative new concepts and the creation, development and dissemination of scientific and technological breakthroughs pertaining to biological production, as well as through advances in the basic sciences in ecology and the environment.


Fields for 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.


Schedule (2019-2021)

The fields eligible for the Japan Prize (2019 to 2021) 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.

Physics, Physics, Chemistry, Informatics, Engineering Area Life Science, Agriculture, Medicine
Eligible Fields Year Eligible Fields
Materials, Production 2019 Biological Production, Ecology
Electronics, Information, Communication 2020 Life Science

Resources, Energy, Environment, Social Infrastructure

2021 Medical Science, Medicinal Science

More about the Japan Prize

2016 Japan Prize Press Conference

30 Years of Japan Prize

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