Furniture buying spree lands Japanese research lab in new scandal
A publicly funded research institute in Japan, already embattled after accusing one of its own stem-cell scientists of faking data, has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on designer furniture, reportedly to use up its budget.
The Riken Institute, headed by Nobel chemistry laureate Ryoji Noyori, spent almost 10 million yen (HK$760,000) on two shopping sprees in March 2011 at Cassina, publicly released information shows.
In its latest edition, Shukan Bunshun magazine cites a former Riken researcher as saying the lavish spending was part of a drive to use up its approximately 100 billion yen budget before the April 1 end of the fiscal year.
"When I was at the institute, it was having a tough time spending its budget within a fiscal year, so it would frequently do interior renovations," the researcher was quoted as saying.
A Riken spokesman said the furniture was appropriate for a building that receives "guests from overseas".
The luxurious furniture was purchased for the stem-cell research and development facilities in western Kobe city, where scientist Haruko Obokata is accused of fabricating data.