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R&D budgets in Japan soaring to record-breaking levels

High tech, self-driving vehicles priorities, but trend sweeping most sectors

R&D spending at major Japanese companies is rising at the fastest pace since fiscal 2012.

TOKYO -- After years of corporate savings, Japan Inc. is finally plowing significant amounts of cash into research and development in growth fields where information technology merges with machines.

About 40% of major Japanese corporations are likely to spend their most ever R&D in the current fiscal year in areas that companies have designated as priorities. Spending is set to grow to 12 trillion yen ($107 billion) in fiscal 2017, a 5.7% increase over the year before, at 268 companies with comparable figures, research by Nikkei Inc. shows.

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