Regarding the Dec. 14 article “Research outlays soar to record 17.85 trillion yen (for fiscal 2005)“: The story doesn’t tell how all the expenditures for scientific and technological research by companies, universities and government-backed research institutes are really allocated.

I spent 9 1/2 years at a Japanese university as a researcher. I saw how the institute bought very expensive equipment that was never used. I saw how researchers spent research funds on video cameras for personal use and on sightseeing trips. I saw how two houses, officially constructed by the institute for “testing” purposes, were used as cheap accommodations for researchers.

The worst waste of all: Nepotism flourished. In one case, the institute director, in response to a complaint by me, wrote that it was regretful that a postdoc given a permanent position had spent 1 1/2 years on things “irrelevant to the institute” but that it would still take some time before she would be able to do relevant research. That response clearly showed that the person had no relevant qualifications for the position.

All complaints to the university president have been ignored. All complaints to the prefectural governor have been ignored. Taxpayers are being deceived.

joergen jensen

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