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Japan Government Science

Japan Plans To Merge Major Science Bodies 107

Posted by samzenpus
from the greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts dept.
ananyo writes "In its battle against a sluggish economy, Japan's government is gearing up to make cost savings through a root-and-branch reform of the country's science system, merging some of its most prominent research organizations. Plans approved by the government's cabinet would consolidate the RIKEN network of basic-research laboratories with the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED) and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) — the national funding body. But with few details about the timing, potential cost savings or full implications of the change, many researchers are concerned that it could be a recipe for harsh funding cuts and even greater bureaucracy."
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Japan Plans To Merge Major Science Bodies

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  • by c0lo (1497653) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @07:10PM (#38897963)

    When Japanese do science ... they really do science !

    Or... are they? [wikipedia.org]

  • by toQDuj (806112) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @08:17PM (#38898505) Homepage Journal

    I can honestly say this is not going to work. The working style at NIMS and RIKEN are completely different, and their administration is completely incompatible. This will likely cause headaches all over. Also, one organization does not improve communication between the scientists. I found at RIKEN that the one group was not allowed to talk to the other group at RIKEN in fear one would be copying or taking up time of the other.

  • by tsotha (720379) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @10:19PM (#38899293)

    I agree Japan is too far in debt, but the 200% number everyone likes to bandy around is exaggerated, as it includes inter-agency borrowing. The net debt/GDP figure is something like 130%.

  • by blue trane (110704) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @10:31PM (#38899365) Homepage Journal

    Japan's inflation rate is -0.2% and its unemployment is 4.5%. They need to create more money to invest in technology and the advance of knowledge, because that is what improves survival fitness by better enabling prediction and adaptation to sudden catastrophic change.

  • by Guppy (12314) on Wednesday February 01, 2012 @10:59PM (#38899551)

    Japan needs to rebuild their infrastructure in many places, so they need to allow their currency to appreciate, so that more investments would be put into it, so they could buy more, and they need to stop listening the insane Keynesian charlatans, who really caused their economy to stagnate for 20 years. Nobody should be bailed out and nobody should be protected from rising currency with government intervention. Having currency fall looks good on a quarterly statement due to more sales in devalued currency, but it's terrible for the actual citizens and consumers, who have rising prices because the government destroys the money.

    You'll be happy to hear that the Yen has been running record highs for many months. It's probably reduced the costs of their recent jump in fossil fuel use (following the post-Fukushima shutdown of nuclear power), but hasn't been all that good for their unemployment rate.

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:46AM (#38900307) Homepage Journal
    No, China does not own 70% of Japan's debt, I don't know where you got that number, but it's not even close to being correct. an overview [investopedia.com] of Japan(and other countries') debts as compiled by the CIA. Japan's total debt to gdp ratio is about 200% of it's $5.5 trillion GDP, or roughly $11 trillion dollars. The foreign held debt is about 2.4 trillion, or only about 22% or so, so there is no way China could hold 70% of Japan's debts. Even if it held 70% of the foreign-owned debt, thats only about 16% of the total, a non-trivial amount to be sure, but nowhere near 70%

    Just for the record, living in Japan doesn't give you any sort of special insight into this stuff, and if you are going to correct people, please make sure you are even remotely correct before doing so, otherwise it makes you look like an idiot English teacher.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @01:54AM (#38900333) Homepage Journal
    That 4.3% is an absolute lie and the Japanese know it is. First off they consider anyone working even an hour a week as "employed", secondly the number masks the massive number of people(mostly middle aged older men who used to work in factories or were middle managers) they hire to do absolutely pointless shit. In a country with one of the lowest crime levels in the world, they have an awfully large number of security guards. And then there are the guys they hire to go around putting "tickets" on bikes, and the guys they hire to hold signs telling people not to use their cell phones while driving, and the guys they hire to man crosswalks with perfectly valid signals(the list can go on for days), not to mention the massive over-construction and not counting a large number of women as being "unemployed" because they "voluntarily" quit work to have kids. The real Japanese unemployment number is easily over 10%, probably closer to 15%. The US number isn't perfect, but it is a much more accurate reflection of the true unemployment rate than the Japanese number is.

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