The Working Group under the Government Revitalization Unit decided to reduce the budget of the Japanese National Universities and Research funds of National Universities and National Laboratory including “Neutrino Research in Super-Kamiokande”
On 25th November, The Working Group under the Government Revitalization Unit discussed the budget of Management Expenses Grants for National University (Special grants for education and research). The result of vote is “cancel: 6, cut: 6, keep the current level: 2”. According to this result, the WG judged to reduce the budget. The “Special grants for education and research” includes the budget of important basic sciences and research in Japan, such as Super-Kamiokande which we are carrying out in the Kamioka underground laboratory, Subaru Telescope by NAOJ, JPARC and B-factory by KEK. They did not discussed science at all, just cut the package.
Super-Kamiokande discovered neutrino oscillations, demonstrated for the first time ever that the nonzero neutrino mass is nonzero, creating a breakthrough toward a new standard theory of elementary particle physics. Aiming at the discovery of the “last” neutrino oscillation, we have just started a critical experiment, T2K, which examines how the artificial neutrinos generated in JPARC (Tokai) change after traveling 295km to Super-Kamiokande. When we complete this experiment, we will take the next step to resolve the mystery of the matter formation in the Universe: why only matter exists, anti-matter doesn’t. Super-Kamiokande continues observation 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in order to detect the neutrinos from a supernova burst—a burst of a star at the end of its life, which may happen even tomorrow. Super-Kamiokande is thus expected to make several important future observations, beyond the previous discovery of the neutrino mass.
If the observations are stopped even for a short period by a budget cut, we may miss the possibility of the detection the neutrinos from a supernova burst. Also, the quality of the detector may deteriorate. Neutrino research in Japan, which has developed over the past ten years or more to the top rank in the world, will be stopped and the researchers will disappear. The drop will be fast. Japan will be a second or third-class power in science in a flash. Once it falls, it will take other ten or twenty years to catch up with the top level of the world.
The essence of basic science is to study unknown things and to know the truth. This value stands by itself as a fundamental importance for the human society. But some of you may regard basic science as useless in the short term. Basic science will sometimes be useful after several decades, in ways nobody knows now. Quantum physics, which was born from the research of nuclei about 80 years ago, is essential to understand semi-conductors. The GPS system is based on the General theory of relativity established by Einstein 90 years ago.
Super-Kamiokande is now struggling to resolve the mystery of the creation of matter and the universe through neutrino research. A century from now, neutrinos may be put to practical uses which we cannot imagine yet. We strongly need your understanding and help to continue basic science.
November 26, 2009
Yoichiro Suzuki, Spokesperson for Super-Kamiokande
MEXT is open to public comments;
Your comments should be sent to,
Senior Vice Minister of MEXT, Mr. H. Suzuki
Vice Minister of MEXT, Ms. M. Takai.
With the identification of
Serial number 29
Project Number 3-15 (November-25th)
Management Expenses Grants for National University
((2) Special grants for education and research)