A scientific institute belonging to Japan's space agency has barred Chinese and Russian researchers, among others, to protect sensitive technological information that could be used for military purposes, a source close to the matter said Friday.
The Institute of Space and Astronautical Science has set new standards for accepting foreign researchers and students that went into effect in September of last year, the source said. Its parent, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, declined to comment.
The move comes as part of efforts to prevent technologies used in satellites and rockets from being accessed by foreign agencies that are developing weapons of mass destruction. Individuals from countries such as North Korea, Iran, Iraq and Belarus have also been barred from undergoing screening to enter ISAS.
China, India and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are subject to certain exceptions.
Their researchers and students with outstanding achievements in science and approval from the head of ISAS are eligible for admission screening. In engineering, however, those from the group of countries are ineligible for examination.
There are two other groupings under the new standards. One of them, including the United States, Britain, France and Germany, is eligible to screen for all research fields.
The remaining group includes South Korea, Turkey and South Africa. They are eligible to screen for the field of science provided the applicant has approval from the institute's head, but not permitted, in principle, in the engineering field.
Those who had been admitted before the new standards took effect are not affected, the source said.
As for Japanese nationals or foreigners who have lived in Japan for more than half a year, ISAS will consider whether a foreign institute employs them and whether they are receiving scholarships or other financial benefits from overseas governments in making their decision, the source said.
ISAS also serves as a nationwide inter-university research institute that accepts space researchers and students from all over the world.