• Jiji


A project team of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party drew up a draft proposal on Wednesday demanding that the Science Council of Japan be relaunched as an organization independent of the government.

The SCJ, a government body representing the nation's academic community, should make a fresh start as an independent organization around September 2023, when new members of the council are appointed, the draft proposal said.

There should be ways to pick new SCJ members other than through recommendations by existing members, such as recommendations by a third-party organization, the proposal added.

The proposal calls on the government to adopt a basic policy for SCJ reform swiftly and design specific plans within a year. The LDP plans to formalize the proposal and submit it to the government shortly, sources familiar with the matter said.

The proposal said the government will need to continue funding the SCJ for the time being, as it is expected to take time for the council to secure revenue sources after the reform.

The SCJ's secretariat should hire a wide range of people from the government, companies and universities to help the council play a greater role as a think tank, the proposal said.

The SCJ attracted public attention earlier this year when Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga came under fire for refusing to appoint some nominees to the council.

In response, the LDP set up the project team in October to discuss reforms of the SCJ. Opposition parties have criticized the LDP's move as designed to draw public attention away from the issue of the refused nominations.

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