Doubts Raised over Science Council at LDP Meeting

Politics

Tokyo, Oct. 22 (Jiji Press)--Doubts have been raised over the Science Council of Japan at a meeting of a Liberal Democratic Party project team discussing how the government-linked body of scholars should be amid a controversy over Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's refusal to appoint six nominees recommended by the council as new SCJ members.

Two former presidents of the council--Takashi Onishi and Kiyoshi Kurokawa--attended the meeting, held Wednesday, in person, while Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, also a former SCJ president, joined the session online.

On the appointment rejection by Suga, Onishi said, "It's very important for the council to select member candidates independently," stressing the significance of the SCJ making policy proposals to the government from an independent position.

One of the participating lawmakers of the Japanese ruling party questioned the appropriateness of the SCJ's process of recommending member candidates, while another cast doubt over whether the council should be a state-affiliated body although support from the government for the council is necessary. A different LDP member sounded skeptical about the need for members of the council to be given a status of national civil servant.

The former presidents rebutted the criticism of the selection process, saying, "Scientists themselves know who are the best scientists." Touching on the system in which retiring SCJ members can recommend their successors, the former presidents noted that academic organizations around the world have a similar recommendation system.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press