Japan's Blastoff In Science

It aims to spend $155 billion to ignite research, but first it must overcome a stodgy education Establishment

For years, basic research has been a national disgrace in Japan. Scientists have sat in dark basements of universities, unable to buy the latest equipment. Hallways are cluttered with filing cabinets, unused chairs, and dusty equipment because of a lack of space--and money for disposal. Coddled by a mismanaged tenure system, researchers avoid taking risks and settle for lackluster results. Not surprisingly, Japan boasts only five Nobel prizes in science, compared with 175 for the U.S.

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