Signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation on October 1 2023
signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation on October 1 2023 © Swiss Embassy

New Memorandum of Cooperation for Strengthening Swiss-Japanese cooperation in Research and Innovation

State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), Dr. Martina Hirayama came to Japan from September 30 to October 3, 2023 accompanied by a high-ranking scientific delegation composed of Prof. Dr. Michael O. Hengartner, President of the ETH Board, Dr. André Kudelski, President of the Innosuisse Board and Prof. Dr. Anna Fontcuberta i Morral, President of the Specialised Committee for International Cooperation, Swiss National Science Foundation SNSF.

Her visit was marked by the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Mr. Masahito Moriyama, to enhance bilateral cooperation in Science, Technology, and Innovation. The delegation also met separately with Ms. Sanae Takaichi, Minister for Science and Technology Policy, Space Policy and Mr. Nobuhiro Yoshida, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to exchange views on strategic topics and international collaboration in science and technology. She also attended the Grand Opening of Swissnex in Japan in Osaka, the Science and Technology for Society Forum in Kyoto, and gave a keynote speech at the Switzerland-Japan Economic Forum.

In the following month, as a testament of the efforts to strengthen ties and open new opportunities for joint research and talent exchange in strategic fields, two events with high-level participation were hosted at the Swiss Residence in Tokyo.

A quantum-focused networking reception was held on November 14 in coordination with the Quantum Innovation 2023, an international symposium launched by the Cabinet Office (CAO) of Japan. Prof. Shigeo Koyasu, Science and Technology Advisor to the MEXT minister, and Mr. Yasuyoshi Kakita, Director General for Science & Technology Policy of MEXT, joined the welcome dinner among Swiss and international quantum experts such as Prof. Yasunobu Nakamura, Vice Chair of the Quantum Technology Innovation Promotion Committee of Japan’s Quantum Technology Innovation Hubs, and Director of the RIKEN Center for Quantum Computing.

In line with space innovation being one of the main topics of the high-level meeting between State Secretary Hirayama and Minister Takaichi, the STO Tokyo organized a workshop on Space-Based Solar Power (SBSP) on November 30. Leading experts from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the European Space Agency (ESA), Kyoto University and Sirin Orbital Systems AG gave insightful presentations on recent progress in SBSP.

Joining online from Bern, Dr. Renato Krpoun, Head of the Swiss Space Office, who is also the first Swiss to Chair the Council of ESA, gave the closing remarks. Government officials, Mr. Jun Kazeki, Director-General, National Space Policy of the CAO, and Mr. Koji Ina, Director of the Space Industry Office from METI were in attendance.

The year ended with additional collaborative projects in the pipeline including the Japanese – European workshop for Japan’s flagship funding program Moonshot organized between the STO and the Japan Science and Technology Agency in January, as well as the Swiss-Japanese Quantum Symposium connecting key actors in quantum science and technology set to take place in Tokyo in mid-2024.

We look forward to continuing our efforts to connect Switzerland and Japan in ERI. Click here for more information about the activities of Science and Technology Office Tokyo of the Embassy of Switzerland in Japan.

Signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation on October 1st 2023 © Swiss Embassy
Quantum networking reception © Swiss Embassy
Workshop on Space-Based Solar Power November 30th 2023 © Swiss Embassy
Workshop on Space-Based Solar Power November 30th 2023 © Swiss Embassy