(Nature.com) The Japanese government is considering tougher rules to address the risk of foreign interference in scientific research, such as more thorough vetting of visa applications from international students and researchers and requiring institutions to declare foreign sources of income.
Last month, Japan’s cabinet approved an innovation strategy for 2020, which asks government agencies, research institutes and companies to strengthen codes of conduct around research integrity and conflicts of interest, and prevent the outflow of sensitive research and technologies linked to national security, such as quantum computing, artificial intelligence and semiconductor manufacturing. The strategy also proposes that government agencies consider withholding funding from institutions that fail to declare foreign income.
The Japanese government feels under pressure to strengthen its research-integrity guidelines and safeguard its scientific relationship with the United States, says Atsushi Sunami, a science-policy analyst at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) in Tokyo. “When the US and other western countries started talking about these issues, it was natural that Japan would also address them more clearly,” he says.