A joint Fermilab/SLAC publication

Japanese scientists call on peers to help save science funding

12/03/09

Japanese scientists are calling on their peers worldwide to rally around their push to protect their scientific prowess.

Scientists and academic leaders in Japan are protesting proposed budget cuts that will carve deeply into basic research and supercomputer projects, including the Super-Kamiokande neutrino observatory.

KEK National Laboratory Director General Atsuto Suzuki issued a press statement on December 2 calling for support and explaining the role of basic research in Japan as well as the implications of the cuts.

If this reduction happens as per the recommendation, scientists at and around KEK would lose the research opportunities and a major outflow of research talent to overseas might ensue. Future recovery from this set-back could easily take years, and require greater amount of budget than the amount cut next year. Neglect of the importance of fundamental research could result in a long-term stagnation of our national competitiveness.

Suzuki asked for public comment by December 10 using this form.

Nature reported on a November 26 meeting of Japanese science proponents and government leaders.  During the meeting, Nobel Laureate Ryoji Noyori stressed the importance of science research to the health of the economy. Nyori told Nature "that world-class infrastructures such as supercomputers, accelerators and bioresources are absolutely essential to academia and industry to carry out the highest-standard science and technology research."

In a statement issued after the meeting, all eight science Nobelists living in Japan said: "For Japan, a country poor in resources, the weakening of our science and technology means the decay of our country."

Read the full Nature story here.

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