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Subsequent development

In November 2009, the new Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) government instituted a type of policy evaluation, jigyo shiwake, to streamline the budget and end wasteful spending. In the first round, views ranged from demanding an end to the programme to allocating the budget requested. The responsible working group decided to recommend cutting the budget by a third.

MEXT reduced its budget request from an initial JPY 34.1 billion to JPY 26.5 billion, a figure 21.3% below the FY 2009 budget. This meant foregoing new selections, overhauling needed costs, and eliminating indirect costs (JPY 7.9 billion in FY 2009, equivalent to 30% of direct costs). It also meant changes in the grants in the FY 2010 budget for centres selected in FY 2007 based on the interim evaluation. Specifically, the ten centres judged superior received a 10% increase from the previous fiscal year, while the 21 centres graded B received a 10% decrease. Competitive funds for the country as a whole declined (see Figure 7.2) as the Global COE programme was removed from the framework for competitive funding.

Since this reduction still failed to meet the target set in the first round of jigyo shiwake, the need to reduce by a third was reaffirmed in November 2010, and appraisers required the cut recommended in the first round to be properly implemented. They requested a further “decrease of at least 10% in the FY 2011 budget request”.

In consequence, MEXT budgeted JPY 23.7 billion in FY 2011, although it had originally asked for JPY 26.4 billion, the same amount as the previous year. The final figure is a 30.7% drop from FY 2009, so that, although it came a year late, the budget was cut almost by the third recommended after the first round of jigyo shiwake.

As a result, the average budget for each selected centre was cut by about 30%. Eliminating all indirect costs was insufficient, and direct costs were reduced by about 10%. These budget cuts, implemented midstream, had an enormous impact on plans at each centre.

At the end of FY 2011 (March 2012), support for centres selected in FY 2007 ended, and the entire programme is scheduled to end in the near future.

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