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Science and technology in Japan is mostly focused and prominent in consumer electronics, robotics and the automotive industry.
Japan is well known for its automotive and electronics industries throughout the world, and Japanese electronic products account for a large share in the world market, compared to a majority of other countries. Japan is one of the leading nations in the fields of scientific research, technology, machinery, and medical research with the world's third largest budget for research and development at $130 billion USD, and over 677,731 researchers. Japan has received the most science Nobel prizes in Asia (see List of Nobel laureates by country)
Japan has large international corporate conglomerates such as Fuji (which developed the nation's first electronic computer, FUJIC, in 1956) and Sony. Sony, Panasonic, Canon, Nikon, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Sharp, NEC, Epson and Toshiba are among the best-known electronics companies in the world. Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, Nintendo and Subaru are also very well known companies in the world.
Japan has also made headway into aerospace research and space exploration. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) conducts space and planetary research, aviation research, and development of rockets and satellites. It has developed a series of rockets, the latest and the most powerful of which is H-IIB. H-IIA/B rockets which have the capability of carrying 8-ton payload to the GTO at maximum are now managed by the private-own company Mitsubishi Heavy Industry. It also built the Japanese Experiment Module, which was launched and added to the International Space Station during Space Shuttle assembly flights in 2007 and 2008 and the HTV to transfer payloads to the station in 2009.
Since 1973, nuclear energy has been a national strategic priority in Japan, as the nation is heavily dependent on imported fuel, with fuel imports accounting for 61% of energy production. In 2008, after the opening of 7 brand new nuclear reactors in Japan (3 on Honshū, and 1 each on Hokkaidō, Kyūshū, Shikoku, and Tanegashima) Japan became the third largest nuclear power user in the world with 55 nuclear reactors. These provide 34.5% of Japan's electricity.
Following an earthquake, tsunami, and the failure of cooling systems at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant on March 11, 2011, a nuclear emergency was declared. 140,000 residents within 20 km of the plant were evacuated. See Radiation effects from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster
Japanese researchers have won several Nobel Prizes. Hideki Yukawa, educated at Kyoto University, was awarded the prize for physics in 1949. Sin-Itiro Tomonaga followed in 1965. Solid-state physicist Leo Esaki, educated at the University of Tokyo, received the prize in 1973. Kenichi Fukui of Kyoto University shared the 1981 chemistry prize, and Susumu Tonegawa, also educated at Kyoto University, became Japan's first (and, as of 2007, only) laureate in physiology or medicine in 1987. Japanese chemists took prizes in 2000 and 2001: first Hideki Shirakawa (Tokyo Institute of Technology) and then Ryōji Noyori (Kyoto University). Masatoshi Koshiba (University of Tokyo) and Koichi Tanaka (Tohoku University) won in physics and chemistry, respectively, in 2002. Makoto Kobayashi, Toshihide Masukawa, and Yoichiro Nambu who is an American citizen when awarded, shared the physics prize and Osamu Shimomura also won the chemistry prize in 2008.
Science and Technology Diplomacy
In recent years, Japan has begun to incorporate science and technology into its diplomatic efforts.