Revision of the Guidelines for Animal Experimentation

The Japan Neuroscience Society (JNS) has revised “the Guidelines for Animal Experimentation in Neuroscience” after discussion at the Board of Directors. The revised Guidelines can be seen at The main points of the revision are as follows.


Recent advancements were noted in the revision of Section 1) Social Significance of Neuroscience Research.


Following the last revision of the Animal Welfare Act, new legal requirements were developed to ensure proper conduct of animal studies. To increase awareness, those requirements have been outlined in Preamble Section 3. Legitimate Implementation of Legally Compliant Animal Studies.


According to the survey conducted in 2011 by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), 426 MEXT-funded research institutions conducted animal experiments. Of these, 90% satisfied the three pillars of the MEXT Guidelines: creation of in-house rules and regulations, establishment of an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), and systematic study protocol approval by the head of the institution. The remaining 10% responded that they were planning to comply with the MEXT Guidelines. As of 2014, almost all MEXT-funded research institutions satisfied the MEXT Guidelines. Consequently, detailed descriptions were deleted from the Main Text Section 1. Animal Experiments Conducted at Research Institutions. Instead, the revision emphasized individual research institutions’ responsibility to properly conduct animal experiments under the institutional management system and outlined the key system requirements. Previously, the phrase “voluntary management” was commonly used to denote the intramural system to manage animal experimentation. Because this term could be misleading, the term “institutional management” is gaining recognition and replacing the former one. The previous version of the Guidelines stated that one of the functions of the IACUC was to review and approve the study protocols of other research institutions without an IACUC. However, this statement was deleted in light of the progress explained above.


Description has been limited to general requirements for animal studies in Section 2. Animal Experimentation. Specifically, concerning the “3Rs,” only refinement-related matters have been described, considering that replacement- and reduction-related issues should be dealt with at the planning stage of the study.


Based on contemporary animal care principles, revision has been made to Section 4. Animal Care and Management.


The roles of the JNS Animal Experiment Committee have been updated.
The Japan Neuroscience Society
The Chair of the Animal Experiment Committee, Masato Taira
The President, Keiji Tanaka