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Japan ranks sixth in the number of internationally published math theses, the same position it has held since being surpassed by China in 2000, the National Institute of Science and Technology Policy said Wednesday.

The institute under the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry attributes the stagnant performance to poor research funding compared with the top countries, which include the United States, France and Germany.

“Researchers in information technology, nanotechnology, bioscience and various other fields are feeling the need for mathematics,” the institute said. “The government must boost its support in this area.”

According to a study by the institute, Japan ranked fifth in the world in the number of internationally published math theses between 1982 and 1999, but slipped to sixth in 2000.

As of 2003, the U.S. published 31 percent of all math theses worldwide, followed by France at 12 percent, Germany and China both at 9 percent, and Britain at 7 percent. Japan accounted for 6 percent.

Japan also ranked sixth in the world in 2003 for frequency of the theses being cited.

The U.S. has been funding math research to the tune of 44 billion yen a year, France 19 billion yen and Germany 5 billion yen, while Japan spends 2 billion yen to 3 billion yen.