Education minister Hakubun Shimomura said Friday he will ask Waseda University, which accepted the 2011 dissertation of then-doctoral candidate Haruko Obokata, to improve its dissertation-screening process after the school's investigation panel said the previous day the study was marred by several flaws, including copyright infringement.

The Waseda panel concluded Thursday, however, that embattled stem cell researcher Obokata should not be stripped of her doctorate because it was not obtained "through illicit means," noting that inadequate screening was to blame.

But the final decision on what is to become of her degree appeared to be pending. Waseda University President Kaoru Kamata said he takes the problems pointed out by the panel seriously and will decide on what to do with Obokata's doctorate with respect to the committee's conclusion.