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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 April 16 - 22  > Oceanographic institute will develop unmanned military boats despite its own peace policy
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2014 April 16 - 22 [POLITICS]

Oceanographic institute will develop unmanned military boats despite its own peace policy

April 18, 2014
Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Kasai Akira revealed that the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) is going to develop unmanned military vessels, going against its principle of peace, together with the Defense Ministry.

Kasai at a Lower House committee meeting on April 16 criticized the JAMSTEC involvement in the military-related development project as being contrary to the institute’s research purpose “for the benefit of the peace and human welfare (Article 4 of the law on JAMSTEC)”.

The JCP representative said that JAMSTEC late last month had concluded a research agreement with the relevant department of the Defense Ministry toward the development of autonomous unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV) and unmanned surface vehicles (USV).

A parliamentary secretary of the ministry told Kasai that UUVs “do not” have attack capability. However, the ministry’s report in 2007 describes UUVs as underwater vehicles which travel in the water with an autonomic system and make it possible to identify, evaluate, and attack targets using mounted sensors.

In March 1971, responding to Diet discussions on the institute’s predecessor, Japan Marine Science and Technology Center (JMSTC), the then director-general of the former Science and Technology Agency said, “Research and development there are definitely not for military purposes.” With the reorganization of JMSTC, Diet discussions at that time also focused on the need to carry on with the principle of peace and welfare into the new research center.

Having facts above pointed out to him, a vice minister of the science and technology who is responsible for JAMSTEC said, “We will consider each individual case,” when a joint research project with the defense authorities arises.
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