Press Room

Japan Prize Foundation Fact Sheet


  • November 1, 1982- Formed as the Japan Prize Preparatory Foundation with the goal of establishing the Japan Prize.
  • May 5, 1983 - Renamed the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan with an added objective of raising public awareness and interest in the fields of science and technology.
  • October 28, 1983 - Given the Cabinet s decision that relevant government ministries and agencies provide support for implementing the Japan Prize.
  • April 1985 - Held the first prize presentation ceremony in Tokyo.
  • October 1, 2010 - Authorized as a “Public Interest Incorporated Foundation” by the Cabinet Office, and renamed the Japan Prize Foundation.


Yoshio Yazaki
Chairman of the Board of Regents, Tokyo Medical University


Hiroshi Komiyama
Chairman of the Institute, Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc.
The 28th President of the University of Tokyo


Ark Mori Bldg., East Wing 35th Floor
1-12-32 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-6035, Japan
Tel: 81-3-5545-0551 Fax: 81-3-5545-0554 URL:


1) Recognize and honor outstanding achievements in science and technology with the Japan Prize.
2) Encourage the study of science and technology through research grants and promotional activities.
3) Promote diffusion of knowledge and philosophy in science and technology through various activities including dissemination of information materials and research papers and seminars.
4) Other activities to fulfill objectives of the Foundation.

Main Activities:

1) Japan Prize

The Japan Prize Foundation honors individuals whose original and outstanding achievements in science and technology are recognized as having advanced the frontiers of knowledge and served the cause of peace and prosperity for mankind.

Every year, the Foundation chooses two fields eligible for the prize, one each from the two areas of the “Physics, Chemistry, Informatics, Engineering” and “Life Science, Agriculture, Medicine” and selects winners - one winner for each field in principle - after almost 10 months of fair and careful evaluation. Achievements of the candidates nominated by approximately 16,000 nominators in the world, prominent intellectuals, researchers and scientists selected by the Foundation, are assessed from both academic and social perspectives. The Foundation’s Board of Directors wraps up the selection process by making the final decision on the candidates. The new Japan Prize laureates are announced every January.

To date, 98 laureates from 13 countries have received the Japan Prize since the first prize was given in 1985. Each laureate receives a certificate of merit and a commemorative medal. A cash prize of 50 million Japanese yen is also awarded in each prize field.

Japan Prize laureates include Dr. Charles K. Kao (U.S.), Dr. Frank Sherwood Rowland (U.S.), Dr. Elias James Corey (U.S.), Prof. Dr. Gerhard Ertl (Germany), Dr. Arvid Carlsson (Sweden) and Dr. Luc Montagnier (France), Dr. Akira Yoshino all of whom were awarded the Nobel Prize after receiving the Japan Prize. A selection of laureates received the Japan Prize and Nobel Prize in the same year, including Dr. Kary B. Mullis (U.S.), Prof. Albert Fert (France) and Prof. Dr. Peter Grünberg (Germany), while Dr. Leo Esaki (Japan) was awarded the Japan Prize after winning the Nobel Prize.

2) Easy to Understand Science and Technology Seminars

For junior and senior high school students, the Foundation holds a series of seminars on advanced technologies commonly used in everyday life by inviting recipients of the Research Grants (explained below) as lecturers. Plain language lectures and presentations and hands on experiments develop students awareness in science and technology. The program began in March 1989 and has since executed more than 300 seminars across Japan.

3) Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar (SIYSS)

Each year, the Japan Prize Foundation provides an opportunity for young scholars to exchange opinions with their peers on an international level by sending two students to the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar (SIYSS) hosted by the Swedish Federation of Young Scientists with the support of the Nobel Foundation. Young students from Japan and elsewhere in the world participate in various events during Nobel Week in Stockholm, including the Nobel Prize award presentation ceremony as well as giving lectures themselves. The series of events during the week give students a chance to learn about ethics and morality as a scientist and help renew their enthusiasm for a career in science. Since the program started in 1987, the Japan Prize Foundation has provided this valuable opportunity to 64 undergraduate/graduate students.

4) Research Grants

The Foundation provides research grants to scientists mainly under 45 years of age. Every year, the Foundation selects four to eight scientists who undertake knowledge-integrated research that contribute to solving social issues, and gives five to ten million yen. The Foundation encourages international collaboration of scientists beyond their expertise.
(An applicant must belong to a research organization in Japan.)

(February 2020)

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