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U.S. military funded laser technology research at Osaka University

  • August 27, 2016
  • , Kyodo News , 7:34 p.m.
  • English Press

The U.S. military provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to Osaka University between 2013 and 2015 to finance laser technology research at one of the nation’s leading schools, university documents obtained through an information disclosure request showed Saturday.


The discovery comes amid intensifying debate among researchers in the country over whether academics should accept money from defense-linked organizations. The Science Council of Japan, the pinnacle of the Japanese scientist community, frowns upon military-related research.


The latest finding also sheds light on the U.S. military’s strong interest in research into cutting-edge technologies with military applications.


The documents obtained from Osaka University show that a male lecturer at the school’s Institute of Laser Engineering received a total of $150,000 from a research unit in the U.S. military between 2013 and 2015.


Another academic at the institute, a male professor, received a total of $120,000 in 2014, according to the records. Both academics had applied for research into laser technology, but neither case is believed to have been directly linked to weapons development.


There is no law banning receiving research funds from the U.S. military.


“We accepted the money as a scholarly donation. We went through necessary procedures based on school rules,” a university official said.


The U.S. military acknowledged it provided the money but that it is not considering applying the research in a specific way. It also said the funds were meant for research that did not have designing or developing military equipment in mind.

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