Science Council of Japan panel upholds rejection of military research, aka “security studies for military purposes”

March 14, 2017

Though Japanese universities have faced a series of funding cuts from the government, a panel of the Science Council of Japan (SCJ) has proposed to uphold the organization’s postwar rejection of military research. (Update: proposal passed: https://www.rt.com/news/382346-japan-scientists-military-research)

It was recently revealed that at least 128 Japanese university researchers had accepted funding from the United States military, apparently to the tune of more than 800 million yen in the six years from the 2010 academic year.

In a new statement following a review of past statements on the issue, the council’s exploratory committee on national security and science drafted the new declaration titled, “A draft statement on security studies for military purposes”, which states the council will “succeed” the past two statements rejecting research for military purposes from the Ministry of Defense and agencies tied to the U.S. military.

The proposal will be put to debate at the panel’s final meeting on March 7, where it may be modified. If a consensus is reached, the statement will be adopted at a full council general meeting in April. Although the statement will not be binding, it is expected to affect research policies among member universities and institutions. (Update: proposal passed: https://www.rt.com/news/382346-japan-scientists-military-research)

The SCJ began to deliberate on the Defense Ministry aid program and took a cautious attitude to military research in a midterm report released in February. A minority held that there was no problem with such research if it was for defense purposes only, but it was felt that it is very difficult to draw a clear line between defensive and offensive weapons technology. That being the case, the scientific community should aim to build a consensus not to accept research support from military-related organizations.

After the end of World War II, the Science Council of Japan (SCJ), established in 1949 and now comprising over 2,000 scientists in fields from engineering to the humanities to the natural sciences, made the decisions to ban military research, twice issuing statements on military research; one in 1950 rejecting research for “war purposes,” and another in 1967 rejecting research for “military purposes.”

These promises made by Japanese scientists are consistent with the Constitution of Japan, Article 9 of which renounces war as a sovereign right of the nation and the maintenance of military forces that could be used for war.

Recently however, these principles have been challenged by the “proactive peace” policy of the Abe administration, which has now permitted the export of arms and related technologies. The Japanese government and some industries have promoted military-academia joint research for the production of dual-use technologies, such as lasers.

Scientists are concerned that military research violates academic freedom because the achievements of military-funded research ( read more here) will not be open to the public without the permission of the military, which threatens the foundation of science. JPC wants the government to boost basic research subsidies, rather than pouring vast sums into military R&D.


The Japan Coalition Against Military Research in Academia, established on September 30th, 2016, acts as a liaison committee for movements against military research, peace movements, university unions and citizens. Co-chief organizers are:

Satoru Ikeuchi, Professor Emeritus of Astrophysics, Nagoya University Ryuzaburo Noda, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Okayama University Katsuo Nishiyama, Professor Emeritus of Social Medicine, Shiga University of Medical Science

Its website explains: “We are responsible for not repeating the bitter experience of participating in war through military research. Such research is inconsistent with the principles of higher education and the development of science and technology for a better future. We are concerned that military research will distort the sound development of science and technology and cause men, women and children alike to lose their trust and faith in science. We sincerely appeal to all scientists, workers in universities and research institutes, undergraduate and graduate students and citizens to join us. Let’s unite scientists and citizens together for peace!”

 

 

 

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Thou shalt not kill

August 10, 2013

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the friend coverExtracted from Niki Todd’s article in the Friend this week

This is not a rule to be followed when it suits us. It is an absolute. We have not got the freedom to choose as and when and with whom we apply it.

Mankind has found wonderful cures for all manner of unspeakable illnesses and yet we cannot seem to cure the recurring ill of perpetual warfare, which plagues our planet.

Over the last thirty years, successive UK governments have unrelentingly rolled out our nation’s war machine and sent huge numbers of troops off to active service all over the world, only to have those same young men and women come home, many of them as broken souls.

A country of unenlightened marauding hordes . . .

We have not only inflicted mortal wounds on political enemies, we have also wrecked the lives of many of those armed forces personnel, both Us and Them, who have committed atrocities of war on their fellow humans.

We have sent our troops out across the world, into active service, for nothing other than political gain and, indeed, it is questionable whether any gain at all has been made, save that of acquiring for ourselves the reputation of being a country of unenlightened marauding hordes . .

The ‘developed’ world has spent fortunes on armaments that could have fed the starving millions

We have spent fortunes on armaments that could have fed the starving millions of the world. Instead of arms we could have bought medicine, supplied water for all those who live with a daily grind of extreme want, worry and weariness. We call ourselves the ‘developed’ world. We have certainly developed. We have developed weapons of unspeakable ferocity that we have used to gain power and resources . . .

It’s about time we, as a nation, took a long hard look at ourselves . . .

We, as individuals, have not got the right to kill and maim those we disagree with.

It’s about time we, as a nation, took a long hard look at ourselves and made a decision whether we are going to ban the British armaments trade, put people before profit and make sure we do not go down as one of the most uncivilised, unenlightened eras in history. Starting small is always enough. Caring counts, but caring is not enough without action.

‘Thou shalt not kill’ (Exodus 20:13)

Sabine K. McNeill adds this message by email:

On this 68th anniversary of the use of atomic weapons on Nagasaki, regardless of what else is going on, we could not fail to mark the occasion. This is one of the best talks you’ll ever hear on war, its role in American history and its role in human life. It’s by the late, great historian and author Howard Zinn, who himself was a combat vet in WW II, a bombardier who came to greatly regret his involvement in the so-called “Good War.”  Deeply thought provoking and worth your time. Video: http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/24237.html