Supercomputer project faces freeze

Kyodo News

A government panel tasked with cutting wasteful spending sought Friday to freeze a supercomputer project with a proposed budget of ¥26.7 billion.

Riken, an independent administrative R&D body under the Education, Culture Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, is working with private firms to develop the world’s best supercomputer. But members of the Government Revitalization Unit have raised questions about the practicality of the project, saying, “It’s hard to understand how (the supercomputer) will contribute to the daily lives of people.”

As for four IT-related projects being run by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, the panel proposed terminating two of them — a support program for venture firms and a human resource development project that are worth ¥100 million.

It also wants to shelve a ¥9.2 billion budget sought by two others to encourage the public and schools to make use of new technologies.

The panel said it is necessary to drastically review the local tax-allocation system.

Some ¥15.8 trillion has been requested for the local grant tax for the fiscal 2010 state budget.