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The level of Japanese scientific research has improved, and at the same time, the country has come to play an increasingly important role in the international arena. Because of this, Japan is being strongly urged to step up its involvement In creative and advanced scientific research and to contribute actively to global progress in this area. Moreover. Japan's population is aging at an unprecedented rate at a time when the world is moving into an era of mega-competition in a globalized, borderless economy. There is growing concern that such changes could lead to a variety of crises for Japan, including the hollowing out of its industries, a loss of social vitality, and a decline in living standards. In addition, a number of global issues are looming on the horizon for all humanity, including the people of Japan: the global environment, food supplies, resources and energy, and infectious diseases, such as AIDS.
To deal head-on with the domestic and global problems that lie ahead, we must strive to restore our creativity and dynamism and establish a nation based on the creativity of science and technology. Japan must also play a leading role in efforts to concentrate the knowledge and wisdom of humankind as we work to build a path to the future.
If resource-poor Japan is to build a sustainably dynamic and affluent society and play a role commensurate with its status in the international community as we move into the 2lst century, scientific research, which lays the foundations for scientific and technological development, must be considered as an investment in the future. We must promote highly creative scientific research at the most advanced level in the world. More is expected of scientific research than ever before.
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