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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 September 25 - October 1  > JCP Kira talks with group of young researchers
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2019 September 25 - October 1 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

JCP Kira talks with group of young researchers

September 28, 2019
Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Kira Yoshiko in the Diet building on September 26 met with a group of young researchers appealing for the need to improve young researchers' social positions, living standards, and research environment.

Formed in July, the "Change Academia Action" consisting of graduate students and young researchers works to conduct a survey on the actual situation of young researchers in Japan and to lobby each political party to work for an increase in government research budgets.

A group member who had studied at a French institute told Kira that more than 90% of doctoral students in France are paid and have health insurance and unemployment insurance benefits, and that they can also take maternity leave. The member pointed out that researchers in Japan, in contrast, have to bear high tuition costs, and that Japan Society for the Promotion of Science's fellowship program which guarantees 200,000 yen a month covers only 1,800 of the 70,000 eligible doctoral students. The member added that many researchers, even if awarded a fellowship, have to live on a tight budget due to tax payments and social insurance premiums.

Research fellows are prohibited from taking a second job. The group's younger researchers said, "Therefore, many of them work on the side as pharmaceutical companies' clinical research associates in order to earn their living. In Japan, one's economic background heavily affects academic careers."

Citing a contribution made by graduate students to Japanese Nobel Prize-winning studies, they said that these studies could not be accomplished without master's and doctoral students.

They also talked about the issue of gender discrimination and sexual/power harassment at academic institutions.

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