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Social security expenditures keep rising endlessly as the aging of Japan’s population accelerates with the low birthrate. Yet, little is known about the way huge sums of taxpayer money are being poured into wasteful projects tied to vested interests in the name of saving human lives.

The Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED), which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe created with much fanfare in 2015 as a counterpart to the U.S. National Institute of Health, has an annual budget in excess of ¥140 billion. But the National Cancer Center (NCC), which is supposed to be a major recipient of the AMED fund, is in trouble because excessive sums have been spent on construction of buildings and facilities in the name of life science research.

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