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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 September 30 - October 6  > PM Suga excludes scientists critical of war laws from Japan Science Council
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2020 September 30 - October 6 [POLITICS]

PM Suga excludes scientists critical of war laws from Japan Science Council

October 1, 2020
Akahata on September 30 learned that Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide, out of recommended candidates for new membership of the Science Council of Japan, did not name scientists who are critical of the national security-related legislation and anti-conspiracy law to be new SCJ members.

According to the SCJ secretariat, this was the first time that candidates, though recommended by the SCJ itself to be its new members, were not appointed. PM Suga's intervention in academic freedom is called into question.

The SCJ Act stipulates that the Prime Minister shall appoint 210 members based on a recommendation from the SCJ. The tenure is six years, and half of the members are reshuffled every three years. Those who are appointed to the SCJ are part-time national government employees in special positions. The new members' service will start on October 1.

Matsumiya Takaaki, professor at Ritsumeikan University School of Law, was not approved by PM Suga to the SCJ despite the SCJ recommendation. Matsumiya, during a witness hearing of the Diet in 2017, criticized the anti-conspiracy bill as "the worst public order law in the postwar period".

The Science Council of Japan represents about 870,000 scientists in Japan and makes policy proposals independent of government authorities. In 2017, in regard to the participation of universities and research institutes in the Defense Ministry's military research projects as promoted by the Abe government at that time, the SCJ issued a statement warning that the government may be intending to seriously intervene in academic research and declared that the SCJ will not take part in any research associated with the Defense Ministry for military purposes.

Past related articles:
> SCJ adopts statement reaffirming 50-year-old military research ban [March 25, 2017]
> Science Council of Japan established based on remorse over wartime cooperation [February 22, 2017]
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