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The ¥14 trillion supplementary budget for fiscal 2009 has a problematic feature. It allocates as much as ¥4.36 trillion — about 30 percent of the budget — to 46 funds, 30 of them newly established. Money in the funds can be used “flexibly” for more than a year, raising the possibility that bureaucrats will plan claptrap projects just to use up the money.

Among the funds is a ¥270 billion fund to support state-of-the-art scientific research. The government should exercise utmost care to ensure that the money is used for truly meaningful research projects that will broaden and strengthen the nation’s scientific base.

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