Research careers surge in popularity in Japan

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A career in research has surged in popularity among Japanese school boys – even if their female counterparts have not yet been attracted to the vocation is similar numbers.

According to an annual survey of 1,100 elementary school children in Japan, by the Dai-ichi Life Insurance company, researcher is now the second most popular job among Japanese boys – with soccer player remaining the top job for the seventh consecutive year.

A career in research jumped from eighth place last year, with organisers of the poll suggesting that the rise could be due to a spate of prizes for Japanese researchers including Yoshinori Ohsumi, who was the winner of last year's Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.

'Japanese nationals winning Nobel Prizes successively may have had an effect,' said a spokesman for Dai-ichi.

Unfortunately the trend appears not to have spread to female students, for whom the top three careers are working at food shops (the most popular occupation for the 20th consecutive year) followed by preschool teacher and schoolteacher in second and third, respectively.