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Use Nobel Prize as turning point to strengthen support for universities
- Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Two Japanese researchers have won the Nobel Prize in chemistry. Following four Japanese winners who received the prize in physics and chemistry two years ago, their achievement has shown the world the high standard of Japanfs basic research.

The two winnersf accomplishment was based on the basic research that they persistently conducted during the 1960s and 1970s at Japanese universities. Japanese universities, however, are now facing a major crisis as a result of the gadministrative reformh and gstructural reformh policies that the Liberal Democratic Party government promoted since the 1980s.

Budgets for college education and research have been cut every year, making it difficult for researchers to focus on basic research since they are busy collecting funds and producing a quick results.

Job opportunities as researchers are very limited, discouraging students to go on to graduate schools. The current situation threatens the future of the Japanese academe.

The Democratic Party of Japan-led government, instead of changing the former governmentfs policy, has cut its budget for scientific fields through its budget screening process. It has also proposed a 10 percent cut in budgets for universities in the next fiscal yearfs national budget.

Although the Kan Cabinet has called for economic growth to be realized through innovations in science and technology, turning the results of research to practical use cannot be achieved overnight. The building up of basic research covering a wide range of fields is essential. As the Japanese Communist Party has persistently called for, the government must drastically strengthen its support for basic research at universities.

- Akahata, October 10, 2010

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