Asahi reported on remarks made by Prime Minister Abe at a Lower House plenary session on Thursday that the Defense Ministry’s funding for university researchers will be limited to their basic research and will not be directly used for the development of defense equipment. The premier made the statement in response to a question from a Japanese Communist Party lawmaker. The paper wrote that there is concern in the Japanese academic community that increasing government funding for military research could pose a threat to academic freedom in Japan. The paper also noted that President Trump and Prime Minister Abe agreed in their joint statement on Feb. 10 that the two nations will strengthen their bilateral technological cooperation on defense innovation to meet the evolving security challenges. Abe ruled out the possibility of Japanese scientists’ research being used for U.S.-Japan defense technological cooperation.