Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's rejection of six academics recommended to sit on a government advisory panel goes against the aims of past reviews of the panel, which called for the body to perform a "comprehensive and overarching" role, several experts who were involved in the process said Sunday.

The experts said they had not anticipated government intervention in the selection of members for the Science Council of Japan, raising questions about the validity of Suga's latest decision despite his insistence that he took into consideration the outcome of expert discussions in 2003 and 2015 on the council's role.

"We thought it was only natural for the government to appoint members as recommended (by the council) so we did not discuss (the possibility of rejection)," said Kazuo Oike, president of Kyoto University of the Arts who led the 2015 reviews with other pundits in a panel under the Cabinet Office.