The 80th session of the Council for Science and Technology Policy (CSTP) was held at the Prime Minister's Office on April 21, 2009.
At the session, the Council decided to adopt two proposals submitted by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in October 2008, namely, “Revision to the Guidelines for Handling of a Specified Embryo” and “Revision to the Guidelines for Derivation and Utilization of Human Embryonic Stem Cells”, and reported the decision to the minister. With regard to the project for “evaluation of nationally important R&D”, the Council also decided to adopt, without any modification, the draft report on the “Ex-Post Evaluation of the Functional Analysis of Rice Genome.” Following this, the members exchanged their opinions concerning the priority issues on the science and technology policy for Japan’s future growth.
In particular, in response to the proposal described by Minister Seiko Noda regarding an R&D system that gives the highest priority to researchers, the council members and experts stated their views, such as that in light of the current circumstances surrounding researchers, it is required to establish a new mechanism for financing R&D activities that will be easily accessible to researchers, thereby further developing Japan’s capabilities in science and technology, which is Japan's latent power. Thus, the participants in the session actively exchanged their opinions.
In the latter half of the session, the Council discussed the environmental burden of raw materials viewed from the perspective of the whole product cycle, focusing on carbon fiber for which Japan holds a 70% share of the world market.
After the discussion, Prime Minister Taro Aso commented as follows: “In order to implement a R&D system that gives the highest priority to researchers, I hope that efforts will be made to create a completely new scheme, free from conventional mannerisms and constrains, that will become a good example. I will make the final decision myself when it comes to choosing the central researchers and core research themes. Development of carbon fiber is one of the world-class achievements in Japanese manufacturing technology. I would request that the relevant ministries endeavor to tackle challenges in this field, such as creating an initial market for these materials.”