The 78th session of the Council for Science and Technology Policy(CSTP) was held at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence on December 8, 2008.
At the session, the Council decided to adopt proposals regarding matters related to the compilation of the science and technology budget for fiscal 2009, such as budgetary measures that precisely reflect the results of the evaluation of prioritization by CSTP, expenditures for the promotion of innovative technologies, the quota for bold research programs, integrated promotion of research programs in health-related fields and the project to accelerate feedback of research results to society, and thorough elimination of irrational overlaps and excessive concentrations of budget allocations. the Council proposed them to the Prime Minister and the relevant ministers.
In addition, the Council decided to adopt, without any modification, the draft evaluation of "the demonstration project of the CO2 abatement technology", which is scheduled to be implemented starting in fiscal 2009.
In the latter half of the session, Professor Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University, who became the world’s first researcher to succeed in creating induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) joined the session and explained his research activities and the objective of iPS cell research in a presentation. Thereafter, he exchanged views with council members on problems and issues that need to be tackled in the process of putting the research results into practice.
In his presentation, Professor Yamanaka provided explanations regarding regenerative medicine techniques and drugs that may be developed with the use of iPS cells and mentioned problems and issues that need to be resolved in order to promote the practical use of the results of iPS cell research.
After listening to Professor Yamanaka’s presentation, Prime Minister Taro Aso said, “Certainly, Nobel Prize- winning research is admirable, but I believe Professor Yamanaka’s iPS cell research is no less important for Japan, as its results could save the lives of people suffering from incurable diseases. Professor Yamanaka, I hope that you will continue to lead the world in this research field. Also, my cabinet must do its best to deal with the problems and issues Professor Yamanaka mentioned as a matter of top priority.”