Scholars rejected for Science Council slam govt.
NHK -- Oct 24
Six Japanese scholars have accused the government of breaking a law by rejecting them as members of the country's top academic body.

Four of the scholars held a news conference on Friday at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Tokyo. Two of them attended via video link.

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide refused to appoint the six as members of the Science Council of Japan. He broke away from a long-held custom of approving all council recommendations for new members.

Waseda University Professor Okada Masanori said the council's independence is guaranteed by law to ensure that political power distances itself from academia.

He said this independence will be lost if those in power decide who can and cannot join the council.

Suga has said he didn't see the list of 105 nominees including the six. Okada said the rejection was not based on the list, and that this clearly runs counter to legal stipulation.

Professor Matsumiya Takaaki of Ritsumeikan University Graduate School said the government cited the Constitution and argued that the prime minister can freely choose public servants, as he represents the people.

Matsumiya said such thinking could make the prime minister a dictator.

He also said the rejection highlights the government's lack of understanding on academic independence and the risk posed by such ignorance.

He urged the Diet, experts and the general public to stop the government from going in that direction.

The remaining two scholars released statements.

Professor Kato Yoko of University of Tokyo Graduate School said the refusal to appoint the six is illegal because it was done without necessary changes in the interpretation of the law governing the council.

Kato said she wants to ask why Suga made the decision and whether the government keeps official records of the decision-making process.

News source: NHK
Dec 03
Officials in Japan's western prefecture of Osaka plan to call on all residents to refrain from leaving their homes for any non-essential reason until mid-December. This follows a surge in the number of coronavirus cases with severe symptoms. (NHK)
Dec 03
The Japanese government expressed regret Wednesday after a district assembly in Berlin adopted a resolution to allow a statue symbolizing Korean women who were procured for Japan's wartime military brothels to remain in place. (Kyodo)
Dec 02
A bill to provide coronavirus vaccinations free of charge with the central government covering the cost was passed in the Diet, offering a key plan to stem the virus as Japan struggles with its worst-yet wave of infections. (Japan Times)
Dec 02
Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide and the Tokyo governor agreed to ask seniors and people with underlying health issues to refrain from using the central government's "Go To Travel" domestic tourism campaign when traveling to and from the capital. (NHK)
Nov 28
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Friday that shorter hours for bars and restasurants serving alcohol would be "crucial" in stemming the coronavirus spread, with other major cities Osaka, Nagoya and Sapporo having already taken or getting set to take similar steps. (Japan Today)
Nov 28
The Diet on Friday gave the green light to stop Saturday as well as next-day delivery of standard postal mail to address a worker shortage and falling demand due to increased use of the internet. (Japan Today)
Nov 25
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is poised to ask bars and restaurants that serve alcohol to shorten their hours. (NHK)
Nov 25
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has reasserted his country's sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands. He stressed the necessity of avoiding any action that could complicate matters in the waters around the islands. (NHK)
Nov 24
The Japanese government is considering giving a new honorific title to female imperial family members who lose their royal status after marriage to enable them to engage in public duties, government sources said Monday. (Kyodo)
Nov 23
Governors across Japan have called on the government to let them know as soon as possible about any changes to its programs designed to promote travel and dining. (NHK)
Nov 23
Chinese state media lashed out against Japan and Australia last week over their “confrontational” new defense pact and said the two countries would “pay a corresponding price” if it threatens China’s security. (TomoNews US)
Nov 23
Infectious disease experts have weighed in on Saturday's decision by the government to review its Go To Travel tourism promotion campaign, criticizing the move as too late and likely to have little effect in preventing the further spread of COVID-19. (Japan Times)
Nov 22
Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has announced that he's partially halting government programs brought in to boost travel and dining out. (NHK)
Nov 19
Japan will adopt stronger security requirements for drones used in defense and infrastructure surveillance next fiscal year, a move that will essentially shut out Chinese-made devices from government procurement. (Nikkei)
Nov 18
Japan's Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide says his country and Australia have reached broad agreement on a pact related to joint exercises by the Self-Defense Forces and the Australian military. (NHK)
Nov 17
Japan's Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has conveyed to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hope for a stronger bilateral partnership to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific. (NHK)
Nov 17
Hokkaido's local government heads agreed Monday to ask residents of Sapporo to refrain from nonessential outings following back-to-back days of record coronavirus infections in the region. (Japan Times)
Nov 17
The International Olympic Committee has awarded former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo its highest honor for his contribution to the Olympic movement. (NHK)
Nov 17
A subtle change in Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's phrasing of a key Japanese foreign policy concept -- a "free and open Indo-Pacific" -- has raised questions about whether Tokyo has shifted its stance. (Kyodo)
Nov 16
Leaders from 15 Asia-Pacific nations have signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, a huge free economic zone. (NHK)