Scientists to issue statement on military studies

A leading Japanese organization of scientists will issue a statement that will caution against research that can lead to military technologies.

The Science Council of Japan is expected to issue the statement at a general meeting on Friday. The council is designated as a special organization under the jurisdiction of the prime minister and represents the Japanese scientific community.

The statement is expected to uphold a half-century-old pledge made in a 1967 statement that scientists will not conduct research for military purposes. The old statement was issued out of regret that scientists cooperated in war efforts during World War Two.

The new statement criticizes a program launched in 2015 by the Defense Ministry to provide universities and research institutes with funds for studies that can lead to develop future defense equipment.

It says the program has many problems with conspicuous government intervention in research. It says the ministry will invite scientists and assess their studies with the clear aim of future development of defense equipment.

The council's new statement urges universities and research institutes to create a system to examine from technological and ethical viewpoints the appropriateness of research projects that may be regarded as military and security studies.

The statement has no direct wording that prohibits technological studies in the military and security domain.

The council's statement has no binding power but is widely viewed as representing a will of the Japanese scientific community, and each organization may have to make its own decision.