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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 August 5 - 11  > Gov’t tries to lure universities to participate in military research projects by offering enticement of subsidies
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2015 August 5 - 11 [POLITICS]

Gov’t tries to lure universities to participate in military research projects by offering enticement of subsidies

August 9, 2015
Akahata editorial (excerpt)

In line with Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s intent to push forward with the war bills, the Defense Ministry has launched a funding system to involve universities in military-related research. The ministry in this fiscal year has invited universities and research institutions to apply for funding from this grant system for the promotion of security-related technologies.

The Defense Ministry had previously conducted joint research projects with academic institutions, but they were aimed at exchanges of basic science and technology. Under the new funding system, however, the defense authority will form specific research projects which are directly connected with the development of new weapons and outsource them to universities and other institutions. It is clear that the new system has a specific military purpose.

Under the new system, participating universities will be obliged to carry out projects under control of the Defense Ministry and their freedom of research and education will be severely infringed upon. The system will annually provide 30 million yen in research funds for up to three years for each application. Officers of the Defense Ministry will assess recipient researchers every year and decide whether to continue the payment of the funds. The researchers will be unable to publish their research findings without the ministry’s permission and patents on those findings will be used free of charge by weapons manufacturers if the ministry decides it to be useful.

The Science Council of Japan in April 1950 declared its determination to not conduct scientific research aimed at supporting war. Many universities also confirmed that military-related research activities are banned on their campuses.

During more than a decade of structural reforms of universities, the government slashed the budgets for basic academic research, leading to universities’ severe financial situations. As a result, universities are now struggling to cover educational costs such as for students’ research experiments and training. It is unforgiveable for the government to cut its spending for universities on the one hand and to lure researchers with the offer of subsidies to engage in military-related projects on the other.

Past related articles:
> Two-thirds of Japanese researchers oppose military-university cooperation [July 9, 2015]
> Japanese universities dragged into military research [March 13, 2015]
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