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2019 December 25 - 2020 January 14 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Defense Ministry will fund Tsukuba University military-academia research

December 26, 2019

The Defense Ministry on December 24 decided to subsidize a Tsukuba University study of state-level arms/equipage development.

Four other research projects, including two at Hitachi, Ltd., will also be funded by the ministry's "Research Promotion Program for Security Technology".

The Defense Ministry is aiming to develop materials super-resistant to impact which can be used for various weapons, and the ministry-funded research which Tsukuba University won deals with the development and creation of such materials using high-strength carbon nanotubes.

The Science Council of Japan, however, criticizes the ministry's subsidy program as being problematic, stating that it amounts to significant government intervention in academic research. Many universities in response have declared that they will not apply for the program funding.

The DM-funded study at Tsukuba University, the president of which is Nagata Kyosuke who also heads the Association of National Universities, will inevitably cause much controversy among Japanese researchers.

The Association of National Universities consisting of all national universities in Japan was founded after the war for the purpose of protecting academic freedom and improving research/education conditions.

Ikeuchi Satoru, professor emeritus of Nagoya University, expressed his concern that the Tsukuba University's stance on military-related studies may affect other national universities. Ikeuchi said, "The head of Tsukuba University and the Association of National Universities applied for the DM program for weapons R&D. This is very disturbing, and I will lodge a strong protest."

Past related articles
> Number of universities applying for state subsidies for military-related R&D drops [September 2, 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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