Japan to Build an AI Supercomputer

aist meti japan

Japanese ministry will fund the development of the country’s most powerful AI supercomputer by 2024.

As early as next year, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will introduce a new supercomputer to support the development of generative AI in Japan, according to Nikkei Asia. The supercomputer will be developed by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and will have a computing capability higher than any other supercomputer in the nation.

The supercomputer’s computing prowess will be made available via the cloud to domestic companies working on generative AI tools and models. Many Japanese companies are currently relying on Nvidia’s data centers to build their systems.

AIST is one of Japan’s biggest research institutes.

The cost is coming at ¥32 billion ($226 million) to finance the installation of the facilities. The supercomputer will also be at the heart of AIST’s quantum tech studies. The name or its exact configuration is not yet known.

The current supercomputer, AI Bridging Cloud Infrastructure (ABCI), powers 3,000 Japanese companies and researchers involved in AI and is more powerful than “Fugaku” at Riken. Nevertheless, it’s not powerful enough to process huge amounts of data learning workloads that are the backbone of generative AI tools.


The Japanese government will cover half the cost of the supercomputer and it will be built in Hokkaido, effectively tripling the country’s processing capability for large language model training. The cloud service provider Sakura Internet is a part of the development.

The supercomputer will likely be made up of 2,000 Nvidia GPUs and be roughly 2.5 times more powerful than the ABCI.

This news comes as Chinese organizations including Tencent and Alibaba have launched at least 79 LLMs over the past three years. Notably, Japan is also poised to face a big deficit in software engineers as per the METI. This attempt to catch up on generative AI will allow Japanese companies to launch their own LLMs and generative AI tools to rival tools like ChatGPT, Bard, and Ernie.

The government’s key priority is computing power. We feel a real sense of crisis about that … We want to create the foundations for an AI era.

Hideki Murai, special AI adviser to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

By Abhimanyu

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