From Classroom to Boardroom

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Science  12 Feb 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5404, pp. 915c
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5404.915c

In hopes of stimulating Japan's flagging economy, the nation's Ministry of Education (Monbusho) wants to change a law that prevents national university professors from serving as officials of private corporations. “There has been a lot of discussion over how Japan can encourage the creation of venture businesses as America does,” says a spokesperson for Monbusho, which plans to ask the Diet, Japan's parliament, to end the ban. “We think Monbusho must do its part.”

Removing the prohibition would be “a very good thing,” agrees Ryozo Yoshizaki, a cryogenic engineer who heads an industry liaison office at the University of Tsukuba. But he cautions that a change is unlikely to have an immediate impact. “Professors are very happy to have their research benefit society, but most aren't interested in actively participating in the necessary commercial development,” he believes.

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