Sushi, shinkansen and science

My trip to Japan last November wasn’t just packed with science….

It’s safe to say that Japan has been a powerhouse of physics over the 70 years. So far some 13 Japanese physicists have won a Nobel prize from Hideki Yukawa in 1949 for his theory of the nuclear force to Takaaki Kajita in 2015 for detecting atmospheric neutrino oscillations at the Super-Kamiokande underground lab.

Following my trip last year, we have now published a special report on Japanese physics featuring interviews with key policymakers and reports from our visit to major labs such as Super-Kamiokande and the KAGRA gravitational-wave detector.

If there is one key message from the report it is that despite the country’s rich history, it is beginning to lose its international competitive edge. This is laid bare in the declining numbers of papers and stagnant research budgets.

Yet Japan is starting to face up to its challenges, aiming to boost the number of international researchers by making it easier to settle in the country.

In addition to the report, we have also put together a special collection on highlighting the best recent research in Japan to career opportunities and the changing funding and policy landscape.


Author: Michael Banks

UK science writer

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