With recent revelations of misconduct involving its research on so-called STAP cells, stem cell researcher Haruko Obokata and her employer, Riken Institute, have come under intense scrutiny and criticism.

Last week, the nation's largest science research institute announced an "action plan" to avoid similar scandals from recurring. It remained vague on whether STAP cells really exist, as claimed by Obokata, despite the recent retractions of two STAP papers authored by a team of researchers led by her that claimed to have discovered a new kind of cell that could grow into any type of tissue in the body.

Although the government-backed institute has a track record of producing Nobel Prize-winning researchers, it now faces massive pressure to clean up its act and regain the trust of officials and the public alike.