Connect with us


First Domestic Quantum Computer Starts Operating on March 27, Opening a New Path for Japan

The new quantum computer has the potential for application in the development of new materials, drug discoveries, financial forecasting and other key fields.



quantum computer
Japan's first domestically developed quantum computer at the RIKEN lab in Wako, Saitama Prefecture. It is shown here in September 2022, RIKEN in Wako City, Saitama Prefecture. (© Sankei byTakumi Kamoshida)

Japan's first domestically produced quantum computer started operation on March 27. The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN) also intends to make the computer available via the Internet, RIKEN announced the week before on March 24. Access is being considered for researchers, technical personnel and other professionals from universities, private companies and other organizations.

The United States and other countries hold the lead in the development of quantum computers. It is hoped that the advent of this domestically developed quantum computer will give a boost to Japan's scientific and industrial competitiveness.

quantum computer
RIKEN Center Director Yasunobu Nakamura explains the first domestically produced quantum computer at the afternoon of March 9 in Chuo Ward, Tokyo. (© Kyodo)

Global Competition at the Quantum Level

Quantum computers are expected to be able to perform calculations faster than current supercomputers and solve complex problems. Global competition in the development of quantum computers is intensifying. They have the potential for application in a wide range of fields. Among them are the development of new materials, drug discovery, and the forecasting for financial markets and economic trends. 

In April of 2021, the Japanese government formulated a strategy for the development of a homegrown quantum computer. Their target was to begin by the end of the current fiscal year (in April 2023). Since then, the RIKEN Center for Quantum Computing (RQC) in Wako City, Saitama Prefecture has been engaged in developing such a machine. 

quantum computer
RIKEN Lab in Wako, Saitama, explained this picture of the actual quantum computer with the cooling mechanism on the left. March 24. (© Kyodo)

How It Works

The RIKEN quantum computer uses superconducting circuits that eliminate electrical resistance by cooling to extremely low temperatures. RQC's current director Yasunobu Nakamura, was one of the pioneers in devising this superconducting method for quantum computing. In his current position he also leads the quantum computer development effort.

Organizations participating in the development of the computer besides RQC include Osaka University, Fujitsu and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST).

Parties wishing to use the new quantum computer after signing joint research agreements with RIKEN are now being solicited.


(Read the report in Japanese.)

Author: The Sankei Shimbun