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July 5, 2012

Regarding "Beyond those shores" (7 June), which features several comments by me on Kyoto University's position apropos the higher education situation in Japan: I am quoted as saying that "for us, researchers must have freedom to pursue their own topics - it means we do not care about how much we are 'contributing to society'". I wish to point out that this reflects neither my personal opinion nor the university's fundamental philosophy.

Kyoto's mission statement is a short and economical text, but a considerable portion of it is dedicated to making explicit the university's commitment to contributing to society. Far from "not caring", this is in fact a core concern at the heart of our mission.

I feel strongly that the quotation does not convey the meaning I intended, which is that individual researchers should have the freedom to pursue their own interests, as contributing to society is a larger concern that must be addressed by the university as a whole.

Junichi Mori, Vice-president for international relations, Kyoto University

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