Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry has submitted its budget proposals to the Finance Ministry and, as usual, they provide a strong indication of the fields Japan intends to concentrate on next. Among the hot topics targeted by MITI are:

" Artificial intelligence—MITI recommends that a study group of computer experts be convened to examine new approaches, such as neural network computers, which could be used to build a machine that imitates human thought.

" Superconductivity—The agency calls for a beefing up of research in superconductors and increased support for Tokyo’s International Superconductivity Technology Center.

" Biotechnology—The ministry proposes increased funding for the Human Frontiers Science project, which will support biological research around the world. The Finance Ministry’s response is due in December.

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