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Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. said Wednesday it has set up in Kawasaki the nation’s first private think tank to specialize in the ethics of life and medical care.

The nation’s largest chemical maker said it believes that ethics will become increasingly important as bioscience research progresses and raises new questions.

The company spun off a research division on life ethics and health-care policy at its subsidiary, Mitsubishi Kagaku Institute of Life Sciences, and established the Center of Life Science and Society. Capitalized at 10 million yen, it is 100 percent owned by the subsidiary.

Shohei Yonemoto, president of the think tank, said it plans to gradually increase the number of research staff to 10 or more from the current seven and conduct specialized studies into the ethical problems associated with genetic research and reproductive medicine.

The think tank said it aims to start accepting outside research orders within two years.

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