The author explains the reasons, aims and strategies for the Fifth Generation Computer Project in Japan. The project aims to introduce a radical new breed of computer by 1990. This article outlines the economic and social reasons for the project. It describes the impacts and effects that these computers are expected to have. The areas of technology which will form the contents of the research and development are highlighted. These are areas such as VLSI technology, speech and image understanding systems, artificial intelligence and advanced architecture design. Finally a schedule for completion of research is given which aims for a completed project by 1990.