NCC Japan fordert Freiheit für Wissenschaft
1. October 2020
HRN (Human Rights Net) has released a statement expressing our deep concern over Prime Minister Suga’s refusal to appoint six recommended candidates as members of the Science Council of Japan (SCJ).
I. NCCJ statement
II. Religious Net statement (21 Buddhists; 19 Cathgolic; 41 Protestants; 1 other)
NCCJ Statement Oct. 7, 2020
"We protest interference in the matter of personnel appointments to the Science Council of Japan, and call for withdrawal of the decision to refuse six scholars"
Japanese German English
To: Mr. Yoshihide Suga, Prime Minister of Japan
We protest interference in the matter of personnel appointments to the Science Council of Japan, and call for withdrawal of the decision to refuse six scholars
It was announced on October 1st that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga refused to appoint six among 105 scholars who were recommended for new membership by the Science Council of Japan (SCJ). Regarding this decision, SCJ immediately demanded the reason why they were excluded from appointment of the six scholars, but PM Suga’s cabinet office has not yet explained a clear reason. We protest PM Suga’s intervention into personnel matters of the SCJ.
SCJ was established in 1949, following reflection upon Japan’s pre-war history, in which academic freedom was distorted and free speech strictly controlled, leading Japanese academy to cooperate with imperial Japan’s wars. While SCJ is placed under jurisdiction of the Prime Minister, Article 3 of the SCJ Act stipulates the Council’s “independence.” Every previous Prime Minister has respected the intent of this stipulation.
Independence of the SCJ is undergirded by article 23 of the Constitution of Japan (Academic Freedom), which is based upon reflection on a history in which academic freedom was threatened under a system of the National Shintoism and Imperial Assistance based on the Meiji Constitution. Academic freedom means not only the guarantee of freedom of academic study, but also autonomy of academy, i.e. autonomy of academic professions and organizations. Therefore, Cabinet Chief Secretary Kato’s statement that “It is legally possible to exercise a certain degree of supervisory power through membership personnel and other means” (Oct.1), as well as PM Suga’s response that this intervention was “a result of appropriate response based on the law” (Oct.2), can only be considered unreasonable, comparable to the Emperor rejecting a Prime Minister who was appointed by the Diet according to Article 6 of the Constitution, saying he will exercise the right to appoint.
We, Christians, have engaged in efforts to uphold the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of religion and separation of religion and state (Articles 20 and 89). Although the matter at hand concerns academic freedom, directly, we firmly believe that acquiescence to the violation of this freedom relates intimately to the issues of freedom of religion and separation of religion and state. It reminds us of Martin Niemöller’s following words of deep reflection upon the previous world war:
“First they came for the Communists / And I did not speak out / Because I was not a Communist / Then they came for the Socialists / And I did not speak out / Because I was not a Socialist / Then they came for the trade unionists / And I did not speak out / Because I was not a trade unionist / Then they came for the Jews / And I did not speak out / Because I was not a Jew / Then they came for me / And there was no one left / To speak out for me.”(Martin Niemöller)
We point out that PM Suga’s rejection of six nominees for SCJ membership violates the law, as well as the spirit of the Constitution of Japan.
We strongly demand that PM Suga immediately withdraw the rejection of the six recommended nominees.
October 7, 2020
Japan National Christian Council
Sungjae Kim , General Secretary
Mitsuo Harada, Direcotr of URM Committee
Takuya Hoshide, Director of Yasukuni Issue Committee
Takuya Iizuka, Director of Committee of Reconciliation & Peace in East Asia
Manabu Ishida, Chairperson of NCC Education
Inter-Religious Joint Statement
WE PROTEST THE REFUSAL OF APPOINTMENT, AND DEMAND IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL
October 13th, 2020
We are inter-religious groups that share the prayer for protection of Article 9 in the Japanese Constitution and pursue peace based on war renunciation and the Constitutional democracy.
It was announced on October 1st that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga refused to appoint six among 105 scholars who were recommended for new membership by the Science Council of Japan (SCJ). Regarding this decision, SCJ immediately demanded the reason why they were excluded from appointment of the six scholars, but PM Suga’s cabinet office has not yet explained a clear reason. It is known that six scholars excluded by PM Suga have been involved in opposition against Security legislation and Conspiracy law, and further protesting construction of the US base in Henoko, Okinawa. PM Suga who declared to continually keep the Abe regime’s policy intervened in personnel nomination of SCJ by excluding six scholars critical of the Abe’s and Suga’s regime. It means tyrannical politics violating the Japanese Constitution and SCJ Act. We strongly protest it.
We, religious groups, find a crisis that acquiescence to the violation of academic freedom relates intimately to the issues of freedom of religion. We believe that academic freedom means a way to pursue truth without being obsequious to power, critically reflecting upon themselves for correcting themselves to right direction. It is intimately common with the way of religious freedom following truth with respect for self-critical spirit. If this freedom is distorted by tyrannical power, then foundation of democracy is broken, society loses critical spirit towards totalitarianism that means losing ways to overcome crises assaulting society and state. We cannot but warn its danger in such a political situation.
We, religious groups, firmly demand that PM Suga honestly admits his error, immediately withdraws his refusal of six recommended scholars’ membership to SCJ.
By 73 signatures
(Buddists 21; Catholic 10; Protestants 41; other 1)