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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 March 8 - 14  > Panel of Japan’s science council decides to maintain ban on military research
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2017 March 8 - 14 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Panel of Japan’s science council decides to maintain ban on military research

March 8, 2017
A panel of the Science Council of Japan on March 7 compiled a draft statement which proclaims that the council will maintain its long-held position of refusing to participate in military research.

The council represents scientists of all fields in Japan. As the Defense Ministry in 2015 introduced and expanded a subsidy program to promote R&D of military-related technology, the council’s panel on national security and academics has discussed the issue since June 2016.

The draft statement states that the SCJ in its previous statements in 1950 and 1967 expressed its deep remorse over the scientist community’s wartime cooperation during WWII and expresses its determination to not repeat the same mistake. Noting that the promotion of military research will cause a conflict of interest in the development and use of scientific research, the draft document upholds the two earlier statements.

The document points out that the Defense Ministry’s subsidy program for weapons development is problematic because it may lead to increased government intervention in the academic world. In order to make sure that scientists are not compelled to engage in weapons R&D, the SCJ document demands that universities and other research institutions set up their own in-house panels and that scientific societies establish strict guidelines.

The draft stresses that an increase in public funds for civilian research projects is essential to the progress of science.

The draft statement will be presented to the SCJ general assembly meeting slated for April.

***

On the same day, a citizens’ organization opposing military-academia cooperation submitted to the Defense Ministry signatures calling for the abolition of the ministry’s program to subsidize military-related research projects involving universities.

Past related articles:
> Science Council of Japan established based on remorse over wartime cooperation [February 22, 2017]
> Military-academia cooperation under Abe government is researcher-version of economic conscription [December 4, 2016]
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