Academic societies in Japan issue joint statement
NHK -- Nov 07
More than 220 Japanese academic societies of liberal arts have jointly demanded that the government explain why it refused to appoint six nominees for membership in the country's top academic body.

Ten people, including university professors who serve as heads of societies in the fields of humanities and social sciences, released the joint statement at a news conference on Friday.

The government refused to appoint the six nominees as members of the Science Council of Japan, sparking criticism that it is infringing academic freedom. The six nominated scholars, who were proposed by the council, are all from the humanities and social science fields.

As of Friday, 226 societies of liberal arts fields including philosophy, literature, and historical science have joined or supported the statement. They are demanding that the government explain the reason for its rejection and appoint the six nominees.

Professor Emeritus Noe Keiichi of Tohoku University said humanities and social sciences can develop only in an environment where free debate is held, in which various opinions can be expressed. He said the current situation aims to contain critical debates, which are the lifeline of academics.

Professor Sato Izumi of Aoyama Gakuin University said the issue concerns not just scholars but the entire society. Sato said she fears the government's decision may lead to a decline and self-restraint in freedom of thought, speech and expression.

The staff who helped put together the statement said it is the first time for such societies to express their opinion jointly in this magnitude beyond the boundaries of their research fields.

任命拒否を巡って人文社会系の100を超える学会が、政府に対して理由の説明と拒否された会員の任命を求める共同声明を発表しました。  日本近代文学会・佐藤泉運営委員長:「突然、排除されてその理由も知らされないというのは大変恐ろしいことだと思う」  日本哲学系諸学会連合・野家啓一委員長:「忖度(そんたく)文化を官界のみならず、学会に持ち込もうとするものであり、これは到底、学会関係者として看過できない。(菅総理が言う)総合的、俯瞰(ふかん)的というのはまさに学術会議が担ってきたことであり、それを今回の任命拒否という事態は大きくゆがめるものである」  この後、6日午後2時に学会の代表らが菅総理大臣宛ての要望書を内閣府に提出する予定です。
News sources: NHK, ANNnewsCH
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