Because of the way mainstream media work in Japan, significant stories sometimes seem to emerge from nowhere. The news that the Cabinet had rejected six nominees for the Science Council of Japan was actually broken by Akahata, the press organ of the Japanese Communist Party. As a perennial left-wing opposition force that no one expects to ever lead the government, the Japanese Communist Party is, by definition, against whoever is in power, and so its reporting is, also by definition, politically motivated. Akahata looks for something that places the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in a bad light, and the mainstream press, which doesn't always have the wherewithal to notice the importance of such matters, is happy to tag along.

So Akahata provided the initial narrative, which went like this: The new administration of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga ignored a rubber stamp process in order to prevent a handful of scholars from joining an independent policy advisory group, supposedly because the six candidates publicly opposed a government bill several years ago. By refusing to appoint these scholars for political reasons, the government is violating their academic freedom. The mainstream press has characterized the controversy as being mainly about legality, in that there is nothing in the law that allows the Cabinet to reject these nominees. However, Suga insists he is taking the verb "appoint" — ninmei suru — literally. He just refuses to explain his reasons fully, thus adding fuel to the fire.

Economist Noriko Hama, a professor at Doshisha University and pundit who tends to rub conservatives the wrong way, wrote in a Tokyo Shimbun column that Suga has decided to "rudely" wander into the world of academia like someone who doesn't remove their shoes after entering a house uninvited. Hama explains the scandal in a derisive tone, her main point being that the council is supposed to be independent of the government, even if it's administered by the Cabinet, and the government's unilateral decision to reject six nominees is clearly political and arguably illegal.