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Japan Launches Innovation Fund

Japan has launched a national endowment fund for its universities as part of a push to spur innovation, the Financial Times reports.

It adds that the ¥10 trillion (US $82 billion) initiative is just one plan Japan has to boost its competitiveness. According to FT, Japan has been concerned for decades — ever since the collapse of its 1980s bubble — that its innovative prowess was waning and that this fund and its plans to establish a "University of Excellence" are aimed at making Japan more innovator-friendly. FT notes that Japan is also encouraging innovators to tackle problems facing Japan, such as those related to its aging population.

Seed money for the fund is to come from ¥4.5 trillion yen public debt financing and sales of government gold reserves, which then expected to grow to ¥10 trillion, as Bloomberg reported earlier this year, noting that universities would also be encouraged to raise funds.

Masakazu Kita, chief investment officer of the new fund, tells FT that the fund's purpose "is to build research universities that can compete in the world."

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