The level of Japan’s science and technology research has steadily improved in recent years to equal that of Western industrialized nations, and now creative research and development must be promoted to keep up the progress, the Education Ministry said Friday in its 1997 white paper on education.

According to the report, which was submitted to a Cabinet meeting by Education Minister Nobutaka Machimura, Japan is mostly through with its catchup stage of adopting and improving foreign basic technologies and is entering the new phase of strengthening original research and development.

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