In Japan, Research Scandal Prompts Questions

In Japan, Research Scandal Prompts Questions 2

The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images

Haruko Obokata, a stem-cell researcher at the Riken Center for Developmental Biology, faced the news media in April after being accused of fabricating data.

In a professional world dominated by middle-aged men, Haruko Obokata stood out. The 31-year-old female scientist led a research unit for cellular programming at the Riken Center for Developmental Biology. In January she stunned Japan’s crusty academic establishment when she was the lead author of two papers in the British journal Nature that suggested a leap forward in regenerative medicine.

Japan’s news media hailed Ms. Obokata, a former researcher at the Harvard