Contents of the report 
  • Introduction 
  • Supply of R&D related services and equipment by foreign companies
  • National Research Organizations & Universities
  • National universities
  • Research Organizations 
  • Public research organizations at sub-central government level
  • Conclusion 
  • Annex 1:  JTPP Helpdesk: Selection of JTPP Helpdesk: Recent Research & Development related tenders 
  • Annex 2:   List of abbreviations 
  • Annex 3:   Selection of European companies supplying to Japanese government organizations




According to latest available results of the annual survey on research and development spending by the Statistics Bureau of Japan, the country spent ¥19.24 trillion (€152.5 bn) on R&D in FY2020, a first decrease in four years. Japan’s R&D expenditures in that year were close to 3.59% of GDP. With this, the country is still in the top 5 countries in the world, despite of the fact that in absolute terms, the gross domestic expenditures on R&D have been stable. Although the Japan still surpasses individual EU countries, the combined expenditures of the EU are almost double that of Japan.[1]


Source: Statistic Bureau of Japan


In FY2020, 72.1% of Japan’s R&D expenditures were made in the private sector, while universities spend close to 19% (Of this, more than 54% were R&D expenditures made by private universities. The remaining 8.8% of R&D expenditures are made by Non-Profit Organizations (NPO) and other public organizations.  Therefore, only a small portion of the expenditures on R&D in Japan would be subject to public procurement procedures.


In terms of funding of R&D a similar picture is visible. The private sector covers over 80% of the expenditures and public sources of funds for R&D amount to 17.5%. R&D funding from abroad is rather small at no more than 0.5% (¥96.2bn(€762m)) in FY2020.  Practically speaking, most of the expenditures involve payment of salaries, at 44.7%.[2]  When looking at the destinations of the expenditures, 64.4% is spent on ‘general’ R&D, followed by 20.4% on applied science followed by 15.0% on fundamental science.


Table 1: Destination of R&D budgets (FY2020)



NPO, Public entities


“General” R&D expenditures




Applied science




Fundamental science




Source: Statistics Bureau of Japan


Whereas the private sector spends most of its budgets on “General” R&D expenditures, publicly entities in Japan spend more funds on financing applied and fundamental research. When looking at the expenditures of universities in terms of fields of research, over 31% went to funding ‘life sciences’ related R&D, followed by ICT at 4.0% and Materials Science at 3.7% in FY 2020.[3]


In NPOs and public entities other than universities, the expenditures are mainly on general R&D, but in terms of fields of research there is more equal division of funds is visible.

NPOs universities

In this Thematic Report, we will look primarily at the procurement activities of public organizations, whose main activities concern research and development and exclude organizations such as national and regional hospitals whose primary task is to provide medical services. Agencies and public organizations that have primarily executive tasks, but that might also perform some R&D activities to support their activities, are also excluded.


The public organizations scrutinized for this Report are covered by international agreements on government procurement, either the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) or the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement which came into force in February 2019.[4]



[1] OECD,

[2] Statistics Bureau of Japan, Survey on Research and Development (2021) Outline

[3] Statistics Bureau, p. 44

[4] For more general information about government procurement in Japan, refer to the government procurement section of the Japan Tax & Public Procurement Helpdesk

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