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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 October 21 - 27  > At FCCJ, 6 professors rejected by PM Suga for membership to SCJ speak of unconstitutionality of PM's act
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2020 October 21 - 27 [POLITICS]

At FCCJ, 6 professors rejected by PM Suga for membership to SCJ speak of unconstitutionality of PM's act

October 24, 2020

Six professors who were excluded by Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide from a list of recommendations of new members to the Science Council of Japan, on October 23 at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo denounced PM Suga's unconstitutional act.

The six professors demanded that PM Suga retract his decision and face questioning in the Diet.

Ozawa Ryuichi, professor in constitutional law at the Jikei University School of Medicine, said to foreign journalists that academic freedom had not been guaranteed in prewar and wartime Japan and science had been used to mobilize the people to Japan's war of aggression. He added that reflecting upon Japan's past conduct, Article 23 of the postwar Japanese Constitution stipulates the necessity to protect and maintain "academic freedom". Based on the present Constitution, the SCJ conducts its duty of making policy proposals independently of political power. Ozawa said, "PM Suga's refusal will hamper the SCJ from fulfilling this duty."

Okada Masanori, administrative law professor at Waseda University Graduate School, criticized PM Suga's act as a violation of Article 23 of the Constitution by saying, "Allowing political power to judge who to accept as SCJ members will destroy not only SCJ independence but also the institutional framework for academic freedom."

Matsumiya Takaaki, criminal law professor at Ritstumeikan University School of Law, said that the government claims that the prime minister barred the six from the SCJ on the grounds of Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the Constitution which stipulates, "The people have the inalienable right to choose their public officials and to dismiss them." Matsumiya said, "PM Suga has stated that he has the mandate to select and dismiss public officials. Even Hitler understood the need to have a special law to give himself dictatorial powers. PM Suga intentionally misinterprets the existing Constitution. He acts like a wannabe dictator."

Asked about the possible abuse of power by PM Suga, Matsumiya said, "The Suga government may choose and dismiss public officials as it pleases. But, under Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the Constitution, it is the people, not the Prime Minister, who have the right to choose public officials. I'd like you, both domestic and foreign media, to report on this issue to the world."

Ashina Sadamichi, professor in biblical studies at Kyoto University Graduate School, pointed out that military-academia research projects being promoted by the government lies behind this problem. He said, "The government seeks to seize control of Japan's science and technology."

Uno Shigeki and Kato Yoko, University of Tokyo professors in the history of political ideas and in modern Japanese history sent to the meeting messages singling out the unconstitutionality of Suga's refusal.

Past related articles:
> Nobel laureate: PM's ouster of specific scholars from SCJ is harmful [October 11, 2020]
> 93 associations of natural sciences issue joint statement opposing Suga’s refusal to appoint 6 candidates as SCJ member [October 11, 2020]
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