Sunday, May 17, 2009

Japanese exports down!

Not another boring re-run of the global economic meltdown, but I'm talking about the number of Japanese researchers prepared to run the risk of a foreign sojourn. In the last 4 years, "the number of Japanese researchers going overseas for extended stays is declining, from 3,053 researchers in 2002 to 1,742 in 2006" (from a pdf newsletter which I was sent but I see it is now on the web here) the main reason for this being that it is hard for them to find positions to return to in Japan. People here seem to rely on their PhD supervisor for contacts and opportunities for many years after graduating, and are much slower to leave the fold than is usual in the UK. Also, in a country where children who have had the misfortune to spend a few years abroad find that they need special schools to help them "reintegrate" I suppose the possibility of some dangerously mind-expanding overseas experience is a threat that should be taken seriously.

Actually, I'm glad to report that climate science appears to buck the trend, as quite a few people here have spent time abroad at some time, albeit many of these are short-term visits with a guarantee of a safe return passage. We started out the same way, actually, with a leave of absence agreed, as we were only offered one 1-year contract between us initially in Japan, and had permanent jobs in the UK. But recently there has been at least one long-term departure from here for colder wetter climes.


Alastair said...

Another interesting post.

There was a progra on TV last night which said that Chinese children are taught that they are descended directly from Homo Erectus and thus, unlike all other people who came out of Africa, they are a special race.

Investigation by a Chinese scientist who used DNA evidence showed this to be false, but I am curious to know if the Japanese are taught something similar.

Cheers, Alastair.

James Annan said...

The Japanese do have their own creation story to do with ancient gods, but nothing they actually believe. They maintain a slightly odd isolationist race-based viewpoint based on/supported by a number of genetic and cultural myths and errors but do generally admit to being the same species! Scientifically, I think they originally came from parts of Korea, and are now fairly well mixed.

Chuck said...

Colder, wetter climes...

Who got a job in Hokkaido?

James Annan said...

No, someone has recently moved to the Hadley Centre - that's a lot colder and wetter than Hokkaido, at least in the summer :-)