Almost 70 percent of national research and development agencies lack rules governing their military research activities, according to a recent survey announced by the Science Council of Japan.
In contrast, two-thirds of universities that responded to the survey said they already have such rules or are considering introducing them. The results show that national research agencies are slower to set these rules compared to universities.
The survey was conducted on 183 organizations, including the Riken research institute and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and all national and major public and private universities. Of the total, 135 responded.
The council representing Japan’s scientific community carried out the probe to see how Japan’s research organizations are responding to its request made in writing last year that universities, research institutes and academic societies introduce a system to examine if their military-related studies are conducted properly. The council is especially critical of the Defense Ministry’s program for supporting studies that can be applied to defense equipment, saying it “has many problems as the government is excessively intervening in research.”
According to the results of the council’s survey, 65.6 percent of respondents among universities said they have or are considering establishing rules on military studies, while only 30.8 percent of national research and development agencies replied that they had such regulations. Many of the agencies explained that they don’t have these guidelines because there is almost no possibility that they would carry out military studies.
The Science Council of Japan intends to consider introducing guidelines for military studies for its members.
(Japanese original by Norikazu Chiba, Science & Environment News Department)