The Japan Prize Foundation

Japan Prize

Eligible Fields

Fields Selection Committee

Chairman Kohei Miyazono Executive Director, RIKEN
Distinguished University Professor, Department of Applied Pathology,
Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo
Vice Chairman Kazuhito Hashimoto

President, Japan Science and Technology Agency

Members Hiroyuki Arai Executive Director, Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency
Emeritus Professor, The University of Tokyo
Mutsuko Hatano Professor, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering,
School of Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology
Kazuhiro Hono President, National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS)
Jinichi Igarashi Adviser, ENEOS Research Institute, Ltd.
Former Director, Senior Vice President, JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation
Erina Kuranaga Professor, Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University
Tadahiro Kuroda Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo
Yukiko Motomura Editorial writer, The Mainichi Newspapers Co., Ltd.
Toru Nakano Professor Emeritus, Osaka University
Nobuhiro Tsutsumi Dean, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo
Taikan Oki Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo
Naonori Ueda NTT Fellow, NTT Communication Science Laboratories
Deputy Director, RIKEN Center for Advanced Intelligence Project
Minoru Yoshida Research Strategy Advisor, RIKEN

(alphabetical order, titles as of November, 2022)

Fields for the 2024 Japan Prize

Area: Physics, Chemistry, Informatics, and Engineering
Eligible Fields: Resources, Energy, Environment, and Social Infrastructure

Background and Rationale:

Science and technology have helped to free humanity, with all its vulnerabilities, from the bonds of the natural world, and to lessen the unreasonable hardships of labor. Advancements have reduced the number of casualties due to natural disaster and disease, and have given us greater freedom to choose where and how we live our lives, all while expanding the scope of our knowledge. However, many vulnerable people are yet to benefit from such scientific and technological advances - many have yet to be freed from the chains of poverty and scarcity. In addition, there are concerns about the adverse effects of climate change and an increased loss of biodiversity resulting from the growing, increasingly active human population.

The development of a carbon-neutral society with a circular economy is expected to help resolve such global issues, and simultaneously result in a world where people can live in safety and comfort. To achieve this, it is essential that we develop innovative elemental technologies and improve efficiency and reliability of relevant technologies in the fields of energy, mineral resources, water resources, material recycling, and more, and re-design the residential and transportation systems in place in our urban and rural areas.

We must also work to promote the transition into a sustainable and peaceful society in which all people can have a sense of self-respect and dignity. To do so, we must revolutionize our understanding, our theories, and our research and development into the Anthropocene, complex systems, networks, human behavioral selection, and trust-building. We must propose ideas and frameworks that can change society’s path. It is also important to develop, design, and implement new social systems that will harness these ideas.

Eligible Achievements:

The 2024 Japan Prize will be awarded to breakthroughs in the creation, innovation or dissemination of science and technology in the fields of Resources, Energy, Environment, and Social Infrastructure, thereby contributing significantly to solving social issues and improving sustainability in our society.

Area: Life Sciences, Agriculture, Medicine, and Pharmacology
Eligible Fields: Medical Science and Pharmaceutical Science

Background and Rationale:

Advances in science and technology leading to major new trends in medicine and pharmacology have elucidated the mechanisms of many diseases and produced revolutionary pharmaceutical solutions and medical technologies - notably in genomic medicine, cancer immunotherapy, gene therapy, and cell therapies, as well as new types of vaccines and drug-delivery systems. These achievements have greatly contributed to improvements in both quality of life and life expectancy by offering more satisfying therapeutic options for patients with cancer, infectious and lifestyle-related diseases, and many other pathological conditions.

Recently, medical researchers have entered into rewarding collaborations with workers in informatics, materials science, and other branches of science, contributing greatly to progress in brain-computer interface design and regenerative medicine, among other areas. They have brought us into a new era in which, though fraught with ethical challenges, treatments for high-level mental dysfunctions and modulation of age-related physical changes, for example, will no longer be mere wishful thinking. On the other hand, ever more conspicuous challenges are posed by dementia and geriatric diseases in aging societies, and by emerging infectious diseases and the spread of pandemics accompanying the globalization of commerce and population movements.

Thus, in this age of challenges it is hoped that Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, not only by continuing to make discoveries in the basic sciences but also by applying those discoveries and joining forces with other fields of endeavor, will continue to enhance human health and well-being.

Eligible Achievements:

The 2024 Japan Prize in Medical Science and Pharmaceutical Science will reward the development of innovative technologies and novel discoveries that promise seminal scientific and technical advances pertaining to the mechanisms of disease; to disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis; and to medical follow-up and monitoring - technologies and discoveries that confer substantial benefits to society by enhancing human health and well-being.

Fields for the 2023 Japan Prize

Area: “Physics, Chemistry, Informatics, and Engineering”
Eligible Fields: “Electronics, Information, and Communication”

Background and Rationale:

The widespread adoption of IoT is producing vast amounts of data which fuel AI, such as deep learning, with substantial advances. As a result, innovative systems have been created in a variety of fields, and the revitalization of economic activities and the evolution of academic studies have been brought about.

Further societal, economic and academic advancements are envisaged through the development of fundamental technologies, such as optical and wireless networks, information security, semiconductor devices, robotics, and quantum computers, and the innovative systems capable of integrating these fundamental technologies.

Such technologies could solve many of societal challenges that human society faces, including climate change, food problems, energy issues, health issues, educational problems, and more. These technologies are highly expected to contribute to attaining safer, more secure, and more sustainable societies.

Eligible Achievements:

The 2023 Japan prize in the field of Electronics, Information, and Communication rewards significant breakthroughs in fundamental technologies and systems which have contributed to creating safer and sustainable society, increased resilience to natural disasters/infectious diseases, and creation of new industries. Novel fundamental technologies that will contribute to the future development of society will also be eligible.

Area: “Life Sciences, Agriculture, and Medicine”
Eligible Fields: “Life Sciences”

Background and Rationale:

The life sciences seek to better comprehend the complex and subtle mechanisms underlying the activity of all living organisms. Since the mid-20th century, researchers in this field have made great strides by analyzing the function of genes and cells. Through high-speed analysis of genetic information and targeted genetic engineering in a variety of organisms and individual humans, and through improved imaging technologies to visualize the microstructure of cells and tissues, the life sciences are pioneering new approaches to improving our lives and maintaining our health. Playing a key role in controlling the global COVID-19 pandemic crisis, basic life-science knowledge built up over decades contributed to the astonishing speed at which novel vaccines were developed. The life sciences seek an ever deeper understanding of life through ever more advanced technologies, such as single-cell analysis, and new lines of enquiry into how epigenetics controls gene expression.

With due regard for bioethics, the search for a deeper understanding of biological phenomena will, we hope, generate new methods of medical treatment, inform sound judgment needed to ensure humanity's sustainable development, and contribute to people's well-being.

Eligible Achievements:

The 2023 Japan Prize in the field of Life Sciences rewards significant contributions to society through discoveries of new biological phenomena and elucidation of biological regulatory mechanisms as well as major advances in scientific technology that make possible deeper understanding of biological functions.

Schedule (2024-2026)

The eligible fields for the Japan Prize (2024 to 2026) 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, Chemistry, Informatics, and Engineering Areas Life Sciences, Agriculture, Medicine, and Pharmacology
Eligible Fields Year Eligible Fields
Resources, Energy, Environment, and
Social Infrastructure
2024 Medical Science and Pharmaceutical Science
Materials and Production 2025 Biological Production, Ecology/ Environment
Electronics, Information, and Communication 2026 Life Sciences
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