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LEAD: Spending for supercomputer development to be drastically curtailed+
[November 13, 2009]

LEAD: Spending for supercomputer development to be drastically curtailed+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) TOKYO, Nov. 13_(Kyodo) _ (EDS: UPDATING) A key government panel on cutting wasteful spending on Friday sought to drastically curtail expenses for a project to develop the world's fastest next-generation supercomputer, for which a 26.7 billion yen budget allocation has been requested.

Riken, an independent administrative body under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, is working with private companies to develop a computer with the world's highest capability. But members of the Government Revitalization Unit have raised questions, saying, "Why does it have to be the world's fastest?" and, "It's hard to understand how (the supercomputer) will contribute to the daily lives of people." The panel initially decided to "freeze" the supercomputer project, but later changed the decision to drastically "curtail spending for it to make it almost the same as shelving of the spending in the next fiscal year" beginning in April 2010.

As for four IT-related projects of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the panel proposed terminating two of them -- a support program for venture firms and a human resource development project -- worth 100 million yen in total, while shelving a 9.2 billion yen budget request for two others to encourage the public and schools to make use of new technologies.

The panel said it is necessary to drastically review the local tax-allocation system.

Some 15.8 trillion yen has been requested for the local grant tax for the fiscal 2010 state budget.

(c) 2009 Kyodo News International, Inc.

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