Academics in Japan issue emergency statements

NHK -- Oct 08
Japanese academic societies and universities are demanding that Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide explain why he refused to appoint six nominees for membership in the Science Council of Japan.

The Japanese Educational Research Association issued an emergency statement on Wednesday. The 3,000-member association is one of the country's biggest academic groups.

The statement says Suga has failed to fully explain the process and reason for his refusal to appoint the six scholars nominated by the council.

It says this threatens the council's independence and violates academic freedom guaranteed in the country's constitution. It adds that the situation is grave.

The association is demanding a withdrawal of Suga's rejection and a full explanation.

Other academic societies issued a total of more than 10 statements or queries on the issue. They include the 4,400-member Japanese Society for the Study of Social Welfare and the Japan Sociological Society, which has more than 3,600 members.

An institute and graduate schools of the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University, to which three of the six scholars belong, have issued similar statements.

Hosei University in Tokyo has published a message under the name of its president Tanaka Yuko.

It says researchers can pursue the truth from various angles only when academic study is conducted independently of the government.

It says this can lead to academic development and serves the interests of society as a whole.

The message also says the prime minister's refusal poses a serious problem for universities and research institutes across the country, and eventually undermines the interests of the Japanese people.