Tokyo, Dec. 6 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government will continue its financial assistance for a project to stockpile induced pluripotent stem, or iPS, cells through fiscal 2022 as planned, science policy minister Naokazu Takemoto said Friday.
There were discussions about the state aid for the project, but the government has decided to continue the assistance, Takemoto told a news conference.
Kyoto University Prof. Shinya Yamanaka won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for inventing iPS cells, which can develop into almost any type of tissue.
This prompted the government to decide to invest at least 110 billion yen over the 10 years through fiscal 2022 in research and development for regenerative medicine.
The science and technology ministry has provided 2.7 billion yen annually to the university’s Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, or CiRA, headed by Yamanaka.
Of the amount, one billion yen has been allocated to the stockpiling project, designed to supply iPS cells to universities and companies for use in regenerative medicine.
But an official of the Cabinet Secretariat told Yamanaka in summer this year that the support for the project may be terminated, according to informed sources.
Yamanaka criticized the sudden policy change. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, Komeito, also called on the government to continue the aid.