Plant factories are systems aimed at developing and promoting "science-based agriculture independent of experience and intuition". They represent the introduction and incorporation of technologies that Japanese industry has developed to date, including those in manufacturing, environment monitoring and control, computers, and artificial light, in the domain of agriculture.
METI, which is positioning plant factories as a typical example of collaboration between agriculture, commerce, and industry, established the Plant Factory Working Group under the Agriculture, Commerce and Industry Collaboration Study Group in April 2009 in cooperation with MAFF, and compiled a report describing issues to be addressed, as well as the support required, for the promotion and diffusion of plant factories (see the Agriculture-Commerce-Industry Collaboration Study Group Plant Factory Working Group Report and related assistance measures).
The government appropriated approximately 14.6 billion yen in the FY 2009 supplementary budget to support measures to accelerate the promotion and diffusion of Plant Factories. As a result, the number of Plant Factories, some of which are able to provide highly efficient production, reached 211 in FY 2011, METI and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries are now jointly implementing measures to support such Plant Factories that have introduced advanced technology to gain higher earnings with expectations about the potential of the market.