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Japan’s Troubling Shortage of New Scientific ResearchersNakano Tōru

Scientific research programs at Japanese universities are losing momentum, and the number of graduate students pursuing doctorates is declining. Most postdoctoral researchers end up in poorly compensated nontenured posts at university laboratories. The government’s moves to promote innovation, including its tenure track system for young scientists, have little chance of succeeding unless universities reform themselves radically.

Chimpanzees Can Master Rock-Paper-Scissors Game: Japan Team (News)

Kyoto, Aug. 10 (Jiji Press)—A Japanese research group said Thursday it has found that chimpanzees have the ability to learn the rules of the rock-paper-scissors game. "The study shows that a chimpanzee has a cognitive capacity roughly equivalent to that of a four-year-old child," said Matsuzawa Tetsurō, a professor at Kyoto University. The findings by the group led by Matsuzawa were publishe…

The Crisis Facing Japanese Scientific ResearchNakano Tōru

In March this year, an editorial in the British journal Nature showed that the pace of scientific research in Japan has slowed considerably over the past decade. Nakano Tōru, a leading stem cell researcher, discusses the challenges facing researchers in Japan and some of the structural weaknesses holding science back.

Japanese Studies Overseas: A Target for More Strategic SupportKawashima Shin

The field of Japanese studies in other countries is currently undergoing a major transformation in various respects. I would like to offer a quick overview of the concerns this raises based on what I have heard from researchers and academics working in this field. First of all, the focus of interest is rapidly shifting away from topics like literature and economic affairs to “soft culture” to…

The Great STAP Cell CommotionTakeda Tōru

The uproar over the STAP cell papers and the doubts raised about their authenticity goes beyond science, offering an insight into the current state of Japanese society. Media sociologist Takeda Tōru describes Riken’s attempts to use public relations techniques to boost interest in its results and how this plan backfired.

After Riken Confirms Misconduct in STAP Cell Papers, Obokata Haruko Fights Back

Earlier this year, the government-funded Riken scientific research institute set up a Research Paper Investigative Committee to investigate alleged improprieties in the publication of two papers on STAP (stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency) cells. The papers were published in January by a team of researchers from the Riken Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, led by Obokata Haruk…

Using Its Noodle for Success: Nissin Food Products

Back in the late 1950s, Nissin Food Products Co. created the world’s first instant ramen. The product soon became a hit around the world, with nearly 100 billion packages of instant noodles now consumed every year. Here we take a look at how the company came up with this innovative food item.

Fujifilm Finds New Life in Cosmetics

Fujifilm has launched a new line of cosmetics developed using the company’s film-related technologies. Cosmetics and film may seem like unrelated industries, but Fujifilm found a way to tap into a surprising synergy between them.

Global Japan: 2050 Simulations and StrategiesTango Yasutake

In April 2012, Keidanren’s 21st Century Public Policy Institute released a report with detailed simulations of the Japanese and global economies leading up to 2050. Tango Yasutake introduces some of the report’s key points.

Leading the Fight Against Radioactive Pollution

At the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, scientists are developing new applications with the potential to bring safe drinking water to millions and resolve the nightmare of radiation contamination that has plagued Japan since last year’s disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station.

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