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Statement Asking for Retraction of Government Refusal to Appoint Six Candidates to the Science Council of Japan

新英語教育研究会 会長 池田真澄

Statement Asking for Retraction of Government Refusal to Appoint Six Candidates to the Science Council of Japan
Oct. 14, 2020

Masumi Ikeda, President of New English Teachers Association (NETA)
NETA Central Steering Committee
  The Prime Minister refused to appoint six members out of 105 candidates recommended by the Science Council of Japan without any reason given.
  In regard to selection of new membership for the council, the SCJ Act Article 17 stipulates that prospective candidates for membership be equipped with outstanding scientific research and achievements. If the government decides to reject SCJ's recommendation, justifiable reasons for disqualifying candidates should be shown.
  The latest government's act of dismissal appears groundless and tramples roughshod over the intention of the SCJ Act and the freedom of scientific inquiry. This action also contradicts past statements that the government's appointment of SCJ membership is just a formality.
  Appointment rejection without due cause raises suspicion that the scientists in question are previously disqualified for some reason other than science. This kind of rejection has a follow-on effect, threatening free political expression in the academic world. The SCJ's aim is to benefit the public through developing science and scientific learning in an environment without any constraint, free of politics. The latest cabinet's action in this sense risks violating Article 23 of the Constitution of Japan which provides that "Academic freedom is guaranteed."
  The SCJ was founded in 1949 through bitter reflection that in the years preceding the war, science and technology were abused by the government, and dozens of scholars and researchers were expelled from academia for the sole reason that they expressed criticism of the government. The current cabinet's action is a stern reminder of these historical facts.
  We strongly demand that the Prime Minister clarify the reasons for rejecting the appointments of the six candidates, and withdraw the government's unjustified action, and quickly appoint the six members to the position which their scientific accomplishments and integrity qualify them to fill.

(Translated by Nara Katsuyuki)