Hiroshi Amano, one of the three Japan-born scientists to win this year's Nobel Prize in Physics, has asked Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to boost support for fledgling researchers in the country.
"Young researchers are key because they are the ones who innovate," Amano, a professor at Nagoya University, said in a presentation at a government meeting on science and technology at the prime minister's office on Wednesday.
Holding a light with blue LEDs — the invention that netted the 54-year-old the award earlier this month, alongside Isamu Akasaki and Japanese-born American Shuji Nakamura — Amano said most of the progress on the energy-efficient light source was made in his 20s.
But "students these days worry about the cost of advancing to doctoral programs and see student loan payments as a burden," he said.
Amano also expressed concern over the rush to produce results in scientific research and development, saying that "Japan's strength lies in the wide scope of its basic research."
Abe responded by saying that he realizes "the importance of creating an environment that allows young people to innovate."