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The Government Revitalization Unit, tasked with reducing wasteful spending, called Monday for cuts in the Urban Renaissance Agency’s two apartment projects worth a combined ¥418 billion in this year’s budget and its five urban renewal projects worth a total of ¥181 billion.

The unit also demanded that reserves worth ¥40.7 billion held by related corporations be returned, while calling for a swift review of the agency’s murky contracts with those corporations.

Ruling coalition lawmakers and private-sector experts were mainly looking Monday into programs related to research and development at independent administrative institutions. It was the second day of the panel’s second round of public discussions on reviewing spending at government-funded programs.

During the session, reviewers found that the R&D operations of Riken, a major research institution, should be maintained as they are but called for reviewing its contracts with outside firms in procurement and facility maintenance.

The reviewers called for more transparency and other measures to toughen management at the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the Japan Science and Technology Agency. They also determined that the scale of research into nanotechnology and two other programs at the National Institute for Materials Science should be maintained, but the programs should be carried out by different institutions after the possible integration and termination of independent administrative institutions in the field.

Government revitalization minister Yukio Edano wants to see the consolidation and abolition of independent administrative institutions in R&D, including Riken.

Earlier in the day, the reviewers said funds for the Civil Aviation College, an airline pilot training school, should be reduced by possibly increasing the share of costs borne by airline companies because they benefit from the service.

Training an airline pilot at the Civil Aviation College costs roughly ¥40 million.

The Government-affiliated entities are often criticized for providing cushy postretirement jobs to senior bureaucrats.

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