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Science Council of Japan passes draft statement rejecting military research

The Science Council of Japan (SCJ) has passed a draft statement rejecting military research, it has been learned.

The decision was made during a board meeting at the SCJ on March 24. The draft was compiled by the organization's exploratory committee earlier in the month. Initially, the committee proposed that all SCJ members be allowed to vote on the issue during a general assembly scheduled for April 13, but the SCJ decided to pass the statement at the board meeting without referring it to the general assembly.

During the board meeting on March 24, opinions such as "this issue needs to be decided quickly," and "the issue could throw the general assembly into chaos," were heard, and subsequently, a final decision was made that day.

Speaking to the media after the board meeting, SCJ President Takashi Onishi stated, "Reaching a conclusion today was not exactly expected. However, as far as the SCJ is concerned, there is nothing inappropriate about this procedure."

In the past, statements of this nature had to be passed at general assemblies, but due to an amendment to SCJ's system, statements can now be passed at board meetings led by the president.

Atsushi Sugita, head of the exploratory committee, added, "I did not anticipate this outcome at all. However, I am glad that today's conclusion more or less matches the content of the draft statement compiled by the exploratory committee."

Since the end of World War II, the SCJ has twice issued statements on military research. The first one, in 1950, rejected research for "war purposes," and the second one in 1967 rejected research for "military purposes." The latest statement in 2017 comes half a century after the one in 1967, and once again, the SCJ has underscored its opposition to military research.

Although the statement is not binding, it is expected to affect research policies among universities and other research institutes.

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