By Kathy Barker, ScientistsAsCitizens.org
There are academics over the world who don’t believe that militarism and war serve humanity, and do not want their institutions or their own work to be guided by military needs or funding.
War is absolutely not inevitable. As with climate change activism, with calls for divestment of university funds from fossil fuel companies, and increased collaborations between scientists and other citizens, scientists can speak out and act on their abhorrence of being part of killing others. We can change the culture of militarism by not participating in it.
This campaign is an effort by Japanese academics, who have noted increased military involvement in universities, to bring awareness of this issue to other academics and scientists. The website, given here in English, gives their rationale. If you agree, please sign.
PREFACE-THE GOAL OF THIS ONLINE CAMPAIGN
Military research includes the development of arms and technologies that can be used as military equipment and strategic research to gain military supremacy, linking directly and indirectly to war. During World War II, many scientists in Japan were involved in military research to a greater or lesser extent and took part in a war of aggression. College students were conscripted into the army against their will, and many of them lost their young lives. These experiences were matters of deep regret for many scientists at that time. Soon after World War II, scientists made vows to promote science for peace, never for war. For example, the Science Council of Japan, which officially represents the collective will of scientists in Japan, made the decisions to ban military research in 1949 and renewed this commitment in 1950 and 1967. Development of anti-nuclear and peace movements in Japan encouraged scientists and students to establish their own peace declarations at universities and national research institutes. Peace declarations were finally resolved at five universities (Otaru University of Commerce, Nagoya University, Yamanashi University, Ibaraki University and Niigata University) and at 19 national research institutes in the 1980s.
Especially under the hawkish Abe administration, the peaceful principle of the Constitution of Japan has been severely violated. For example, although the export of arms and the related technologies had long been strictly restricted, Abe administration removed this ban in 2014. The Japanese government and various industries have been promoting military-academia joint research for the production of dual-use technologies. In total, as of 2014, more than 20 joint research projects have been initiated since the early 2000s between the Technical Research and Development Institute, the Ministry of Defense, and academia. The Abe administration approved the National Defense Program Guidelines for FY2014 and beyond in December 2013 to further develop dual-use technologies by funding research projects to be conducted in universities and research institutes. This trend should be viewed as governmental counterattack against scientists’ vows not to take part in military research again after World War II.
It is highly inevitable that the achievements of military-funded research will not be open to the public without the permission of the military. The Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets, which was forced through the Diet in 2013 and came into effect in 2014, will strengthen control of academia by the military and state power. In addition, scientists who speak of their research may now be accused of leaking confidential information because of this new law.
What are the consequences of military-academia joint research? It is evident that academic freedom will be severely violated. One must only refer to the case of the United States, where the military-industrial-academic complex is already firmly established. In addition, graduate and undergraduate students’ right and conscience will be violated by being forced to take part in military-academia joint research in their university education program, and given their lack of experience, may be accepted without criticism. Is it ethical for professors and principle scientists to involve their students in military-academia joint research? Such research is linking to war, destruction, and murder, and will inevitably result in the devastation of higher education.
Universities should deal with universal values, such as the development of democracy, the welfare of human beings, nuclear disarmament, the abolition of poverty, and the realization of a peaceful and sustainable world. In order to ensure such activities, universities, including national universities, of course, should be independent from any governmental or political power and authority, and they should pursue the goal of human education to encourage students to aspire to truth and peace.
We are responsible to refuse to take part in war through military-academia joint research. Such research is not consistent with the principles of higher education and the development of science and technology for a better future. We are concerned that military-academia joint research will distort the sound development of science, and that men, women, and children alike will lose their trust and faith in science. Right now, we are at the crossroads for the reputation of science in Japan.
We sincerely appeal to all the members of universities and research institutes, including undergraduate and graduate students, and to citizens, not to take part in joint research with military personnel, to refuse funding from the military, and to refrain from educating military personnel.
Satoru Ikeuchi, Professor Emeritus of Astrophysics, Nagoya University,
Shoji Sawada, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Nagoya University,
Makoto Ajisaka, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Kansai University,
Junji Akai, Professor Emeritus of Mineralogy, Niigata University,
Minoru Kitamura, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Waseda University,
Tatsuyoshi Morita, Professor Emeritus of Botany, Niigata University,
Ken Yamazaki, Professor of Exercise Physiology, Niigata University,
Teruo Asami, Professor Emeritus of Soil Science, Ibaraki University,
Hikaru Shioya, Communication Engineering and Reliability Engineering,
Kunio Fukuda, Professor Emeritus of International Trade Theory, Meiji University,
Kunie Nonaka, Professor of Accoundancy, Meiji University,
and other 47 scientists.
Today there is no greater glory for man than that of service in the cause of the “Most Great Peace.” Peace is light whereas war is darkness. Peace is life; war is death. Peace is guidance; war is error. Peace is the foundation of God; war is satanic institution. Peace is the illumination of the world of humanity; war is the destroyer of human foundations. When we consider outcomes in the world of existence we find that peace and fellowship are factors of upbuilding and betterment whereas war and strife are the 232 causes of destruction and disintegration
KEEP the FAITH
War does not acheive anything… but kill and maim
WE have to go on protesting because our very sick governments have lost the ability to understand death, injury, torture and destruction whilst they ponce around in their high priced suits with their womenfolk carrying their torture trophy bags from Hermes in France. How sick is that!.
WE cannot rely on them to look after the world, – so we have to do it. Our governments are our employees and they are totally irresponsible liars. We have to fire them.
I say no to military research!!
Japanese academics are right to oppose themselves to military research.
I STAND FOR THIS PETITION. I SATND TO SAY “NO” TO MILITARY RESEARCH!
Please remain steadfast against allying your universities with military research and militarism in any form.
I was pleased that Japan committed to not take part in aggression and war at the end of the Second World War.
Taking a stand such as this is a real step towards responsible, moral change towards peace for the world and de-escalation of conflict.
So many prestigious US universities have accepted contracts for research with military applications. It is a corrupting influence in the U.S.