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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 October 7 - 13  > 93 associations of natural sciences issue joint statement opposing Suga’s refusal to appoint 6 candidates as SCJ member
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2020 October 7 - 13 [POLITICS]

93 associations of natural sciences issue joint statement opposing Suga’s refusal to appoint 6 candidates as SCJ member

October 11, 2020

In protest against Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide’s refusal to appoint six nominees to the Science Council of Japan, on October 9, 93 academic associations of natural sciences held an online press conference to release a joint statement.

The 93 associations include the Physical Society of Japan, the Mathematical Society of Japan, and the Japan Geoscience Union. It is the first statement by natural science associations to jointly protest against Suga’s rejection.

The statement points out that the government appears to have no intention to listen to scientists’ opinions and concerns. Expressing “grave concern” over the government which dropped the six nominees from the SCJ list of new members without giving a reason, the statement calls on the government to reach an early settlement of the issue by taking into account the fact that no SCJ-selected candidate has been denied membership in the past.

Japan Geoscience Union President and Tokyo University Professor Tajika Eiichi at the virtual press conference said that although the six in question are all scholars in the humanities, physical and natural science scholars may also be subjected to unilateral rejections in the future. He stressed, “Restricting scientists’ activities will lead to a violation of academic freedom.”

Physical Society of Japan President and Kyoto University Professor Nagae Tomofumi said that if scientists always have to take care not to displease the government, that will create a censored world.

With two of the six professors working at the University of Tokyo, the university’s President Gonokami Makoto on the same day also published a comment. Gonokami underscored the significance of the SCJ and urged the government to respond to the SCJ request in a sincere manner.

So far, in addition to the 93 associations and the University of Tokyo, protest statements were published by more than 130 universities, academic societies, and other sciences-related organizations, according to Akahata.

Past related articles:
> Science Council of Japan president says Suga’s nomination refusal is ‘serious problem’ [October 2, 2020]
> Shii condemns gov't intervention in Science Council as threat to academic freedom [October 2, 2020]
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