Japanese government adviser calls for increased computing power to maintain AI competitiveness

As the head of the government’s AI strategy team, Murai expressed concern over the country’s current computing capabilities and stressed the need to establish a robust foundation that can drive Japan into the AI era

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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s special AI adviser, Hideki Murai, emphasises the urgent need for Japan to significantly expand its computing power to position itself as a global leader in AI. Murai, who leads the government’s AI strategy team, expressed concern about the country’s current computing capabilities and called for a foundation for the AI era to be laid. 

Japan has been relatively slow in investing in AI compared to the United States and lags behind in AI computer infrastructure. While around 3,000 Japanese companies have access to a supercomputer at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), offering 0.8 exaflops of computing power, it is just a fraction of what major AI players like Microsoft-backed OpenAI possess.

To address this deficit, Japan plans to increase AIST’s computing power to 2.8 exaflops by the end of 2024 and is providing subsidies to companies like Sakura Internet and SoftBank to build supercomputers.