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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 August 28 - September 3  > Number of universities applying for state subsidies for military-related R&D drops
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2019 August 28 - September 3 [POLITICS]

Number of universities applying for state subsidies for military-related R&D drops

September 2, 2019
The number of universities applying for the Defense Ministry’s program to subsidize R&D of military-related technologies decreased to eight in fiscal 2019 from 22 in fiscal 2017.

Nagoya University Professor Emeritus and astrophysicist Ikeuchi Satoru in an Akahata interview pointed out that the Science Council of Japan’s objection to military-academia research cooperation may be leading to a declining trend in the number of applications from universities. “At the same time, however, some institutions have become habitual applicants. I think, they might be stuck in relying on such money to come in like a drug addict relies on the availability of drugs,” Ikeuchi added.

Ikeuchi cited that among 16 applicants to which the ministry decided to grant subsidies, seven are public research institutes, such as JAXA and the National Institute for Materials Science.

Ikeuchi pointed out that these organizations are less likely to be affected by critical public opinion and tend to fall into placing scientific research projects above anything else. He said, “I suppose, among public research institutes, there is an argument that as their studies are funded by the government, it is natural for them to follow what the government says,” voicing his alarm at such an argument that allows public research entities to voluntarily cooperate in military research and developments.

Ikeuchi said that as research at public institutes is financed by tax funds, they should be aware of the purpose their research and how it will be used, and added, “Military-related R&D will never contribute to promoting the welfare of the general public.”

Past related articles:
> Astronomy community issues statement resolving to refrain from engaging in military-related research [March 18, 2019]
> Hokkaido University withdraws from Defense Ministry’s research grant program [June 12, 2018]
> SCJ adopts statement reaffirming 50-year-old military research ban [March 25, 2017]
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