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The Board of Audit has told a government-affiliated corporation distributing public subsidies to private schools that 31 universities did not sufficiently return to society the benefits of research made possible by a total of 2.1 billion yen in grants, corporation sources said Saturday.

The independent government body also told the public corporation — the Promotion and Mutual Aid Corp. for Private Schools of Japan — that it should have instructed the 31 private schools to release more information on their findings, the sources said.

The names of the 31 private universities were not released.

According to the sources, the 31 schools, including graduate schools, received the aid from fiscal 1996, using the money to complete some 700 research projects by fiscal 2000.

The Board of Audit examined if and how the schools announced their findings, and found that only 24 percent of the colleges and 28 percent of graduate schools have publicly released the information in publications and other outlets.

Most of those did, however, make an announcement within academic circles, with 84 percent of the colleges and 96 percent of the graduate schools submitting theses on the research to academic societies.

The board concluded that researchers lacked awareness that they should return to society the benefits they received by utilizing taxpayers’ money, and also found many universities did not have the tools to publicly release information.

After the board called the issue to the public entity’s attention, the corporation moved to instruct private universities in September to correct their behavior, the sources said.

The Education, Culture, Sports Science and Technology Ministry, which is in charge of the corporation, issued a similar notice in October.

The ministry started in the current fiscal year to directly distribute subsidies to schools.

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