Regarding the June 19 article “Flat level of research funding triggers alarm among Japan’s top scientists”: The various reasons behind the decline in Japan’s research performance, and in its university ranking have been discussed in several Japan Times articles. I want to stress a reason that is rarely acknowledged: most researchers neither have prospects for promotion nor job security.

Universities in Japan hire researchers on annual contracts renewable for up to five to 10 years, after which they must leave. No matter how successful or productive they are, the chance to get tenure, or even to extend the annual contract beyond the five to 10 years is zero. If you are still young, you might find other institution to hire you for another five to 10 year cycle.

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