The Japanese government's science council has voted to allow scientists to perform limited cloning of human embryos for research. Cloning in Japan has been banned since 2001, except for researchers using embryos not produced by cloning.

The council, run by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, will ask the ministries to come up with specific guidelines. The guidelines would let researchers make and use cloned human embryos for basic research only.

The guidelines disallow using human embryo clones for use in treating human patients. Many scientists back using human embryo cloning to get stem cells which can be used to reproduce damaged organs or tissues.