Select Committee on Science and Technology Fourth Report


Japan: Monday 16 September—Friday 20 September 2002


Morning: British Embassy, Tokyo

The Committee received briefings from Embassy staff on its work generally and specifically on its role in science and technology, energy and environment, and trade promotion.

Afternoon: Miraikan Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation

The Committee visited the museum and held a meeting with the museum's director.


Morning: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's Agency for Natural Resources and Energy; New Energy Foundation

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is Japan's equivalent of the UK's Department of Trade and Industry. It is responsible for energy policy. The Committee held a meeting with Director General of Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Department of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy and heard presentations from officials.

The New Energy Foundation is non-profit organisation. It surveys research and the introduction and deployment of new energy technologies and administers the Government's domestic photovoltaic installation programme. The Committee met the Chairman of the New Energy Foundation and staff briefed us on the organisation's role and its photovoltaic programme.

Afternoon: New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization

The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization is a semi-governmental organization under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. It activities include development and promotion of new energy and energy conservation technologies and the management of industrial technology research and development projects. The Committee held a meeting with President with presentations on fuel cell, hydrogen and solar energy development.

Wednesday 18 September

Morning: Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, Naka Fusion Research Establishment

Naka is the centre of Japan's fusion research programme. The Committee held a meeting with scientists and toured the JT-60 tomamak and the establishment's research facilities on plasma heating and superconducting magnets.

Afternoon: Misawa Homes Institute of Research and Development

The Committee visited the company's zero emission solar energy house and received a presentation on its building product made from recycled wood chips and plastic.

Thursday 19 September

Morning: RIKEN Yokohama

The Committee visited the RIKEN facilities, focusing on its genomics sciences division.

Afternoon: British Council

The Committee received briefings on the work of the British Council, Tokyo in promoting a more positive image of the UK.


Morning: Sanyo Electric

The Committee received presentations on Sanyo's development of fuel cell cogeneration systems and photovoltaic cells and toured the Sanyo Solar Ark, the world's largest solar array.

Afternoon: Osaka Gas

Osaka Gas is the gas distribution company for the Kansai region. It has a demonstration programme in its company apartments using hydrogen fuel cells for residential cogeneration. The Committee visited this project along with the company's research facilities and a hydrogen fuel filling station it was developing.

UK Atomic Energy Authority's Culham fusion research: 11 November 2002

The Committee were given a tour of the UK's MAST facility, a spherical tokamak at an early stage of development and the European JET project. The Committee received presentations on the development of fusion technology and the role of the UK.

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