The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) funds programs on biodegradable polymers, including a feasibility study entitled "Research for Development of Fishing Gear Utilizing Biodegradable Plastics." This research program is in its first year of a five-year effort. The program supports work at Hyogo Prefectural Fisheries Lab (a government laboratory established by the regional Prefecture Office) and at Dr. Y. Doi's RIKEN laboratory. Dr. Doi serves primarily as a consultant to this program.
The goals of the program are to explore products for sports fishing line and fishing nets (for cultivation of seaweed and off-shore fishing). Total funding for the program is about $110 thousand per year. In addition, the ministry funds a project entitled "R&D for Food Packaging Friendly to the Environment." This effort supports nine projects at a total of about $2 million per year. Dr. Doi is also an advisor to this project.