Japanese military entices academics to break taboo

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Science  27 Jan 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6323, pp. 338
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6323.338

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Shortly after the end of World War II, the Science Council of Japan (SCJ) adopted a statement proclaiming that the country's scientists "will never pursue scientific research for the purpose of war." In keeping with that sentiment, Japan's university professors have largely avoided conducting any military research on campus. For the last 2 years, however, Japan's Ministry of Defense has had a small program providing grants to university researchers to work on dual-use technologies. Funding for the program is skyrocketing from just $5.2 million this year to $95 million in the fiscal year beginning 1 April. And SCJ has a committee deliberating possible changes to its code of conduct to cover the possibility of university researchers accepting defense ministry funding. These developments have split the scientific community, with some researchers glad to receive the support, whereas a network of university professors and peace activists seeks to keep the separation between the military and academia.