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Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012
Noda to Yamanaka: Nobel honor is also prize for an overjoyed Japan
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Friday congratulated scientist Shinya Yamanaka for sharing this year's Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, telling him the news brought "great joy all over Japan."
During his meeting with Yamanaka, Noda said his wife, Hitomi, has personally contributed funds to help the Kyoto University professor conduct his research.
Yamanaka, who shared the prize with John Gurdon of Britain, a professor emeritus at Cambridge University, won for his work on artificially derived multipurpose stem cells.
Yamanaka reiterated his appreciation for the government support his research has received.
"Not only I, but Japan as a whole, received the prize" for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent, or iPS, cells, he said.
Noda emphasized the government will make efforts to support research of the iPS cell so it will be put to practical use.
Yamanaka told reporters after the meeting he hopes the government will provide "qualitative support instead of monetary support," calling for policy measures that allow researchers to become regular employees.
Later in the day, Yamanaka visited Makiko Tanaka, minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology, and offered his gratitude for the ministry's support.
"I am grateful that the backing from the ministry has promoted the field of research across Japan and led to the winning of the (Nobel) prize," Yamanaka said.