PM Office Reluctant over SCJ Candidates in 2016: Ex-Head

Politics

Tokyo, Oct. 9 (Jiji Press)--The office of the Japanese prime minister appeared reluctant to accept some candidates for members of the Science Council of Japan in 2016, former SCJ President Takashi Onishi said Friday.

Onishi, 72, who served as SCJ president between 2011 and 2017, made the statements at a joint hearing by opposition parties, including the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, over the recent controversial rejections by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who took office last month to succeed Shinzo Abe, of the appointments of six nominees recommended by the SCJ as its members.

The law on the SCJ stipulates that members of the council are nominated by the institution and appointed by the prime minister.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Office, after asking the Cabinet Legislation Bureau about the interpretation of the law, drew up in November 2018 a document saying that the prime minister does not necessarily have an obligation to appoint nominees as recommended by the SCJ. The government agency oversees the SCJ.

Onishi's remarks suggest that the prime minister's office had been interfering in the SCJ's personnel affairs before the creation of the document.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press