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Science Council survey shows only 30% of universities have guidelines on military research

  • April 3, 2018
  • , Tokyo Shimbun evening edition , p. 1
  • JMH Translation

The Science Council of Japan (SCJ, chaired by Kyoto University President Juichi Yamagiwa) announced on April 3 the results of its survey which show that only some 30% of universities nationwide have drawn up guidelines and procedures for applying for funding from the Defense Ministry for basic research that can be converted to military use. These results were reported at the SCJ convention held in Tokyo.


Another 20% of universities replied that they were in the process of developing guidelines.


The results reveal that a total of only about 50% have taken steps to deal with the Defense Ministry’s solicitation of research proposals and many universities are still taking a wait-and-see attitude. In addition, only around 20% of universities have internally approved proposals to apply for Defense Ministry research funding.


The survey was conducted to assess the current situation among universities in light of the statement issued by the SCJ in March last year that the Defense Ministry’s funding system “represents serious intervention by the government and is, therefore, very problematic.” This statement also asked universities to examine the appropriateness of research proposals seeking funding.


Responses to the survey show that around 44% of universities have adopted basic principles on the relation between military technology and science, including on the Defense Ministry’s funding system, while around 38% answered in the negative.


The survey was conducted on all major universities and research institutions in February-March this year. A total of 135 state, public, and private universities, research institutes, and other organizations responded, representing a response rate of approximately 74%. Further analysis will be undertaken on the survey, including the optional remarks written by the respondents, and the results will be announced at a symposium in September. (Slightly abridged)

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