Japan Invests $30M in Quantum Cloud Computing for Industry

Government funding will provide discounted access to quantum services for startups and other businesses
John Potter
John Potter

April 18, 2023

METI plans to introduce an IBM model with the 127-qubit Falcon processor. IBM

The Japanese government is to contribute $31.7 million (4.2 billion yen) towards developing shared quantum computing using a business-friendly cloud platform.

A quantum computing collective led by the University of Tokyo will receive funding from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) over the next five years. The university uses an IBM quantum computer with the company’s 27-qubit Falcon processor. METI will use the funding to introduce an IBM model with 127 qubits in the fall, according to Nikkei Asia.

The Japanese government wants to make quantum computing more accessible so enterprises can benefit from the advantages it offers. These include accelerating the process of developing new drugs and materials, aiding self-driving cars in determining optimal routes and providing advanced financial services.

The University of Tokyo's quantum collective has 17 members, including Toyota Motor, Mitsubishi Chemical and Mizuho Financial Group, with additional members expected to join. The

partners currently use the IBM 27-qubit quantum computer via a cloud server. 

Although the University of Tokyo currently charges usage fees, government funding will cover a portion of these fees. The objective is to facilitate startups and other companies being able to access the potential benefits of quantum computing. By sharing this quantum computer, the collective can reduce the costs that each member would otherwise incur.

METI's new 127-qubit IBM machine will be faster than the 64-qubit quantum computer built in Japan and made available to outside users at the Riken research institute last month.

In Japan, foreign businesses primarily provide cloud computing services. However, Tokyo seeks to increase the country's cloud presence in the quantum computing industry.

The government identified 11 areas crucial for economic security in December, with cloud applications being one of them. The industry ministry set aside $149 million (20 billion yen) for cloud-related activities during the previous fiscal year.

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