Science Council of Japan
日本学術会議
AbbreviationSCJ
PredecessorJapan Association of Science Liaison
Preparatory Committee (Sewaninkai)
Formation20 January 1949 (1949-01-20)
FounderHarry C. Kelly
PurposeDevelopment of science in Japan
HeadquartersRoppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
FieldsScience
Membership (2015)
210
President
Takashi Onishi [ja]
Vice-President (Organizational Management)
Chiaki Mukai
Vice-President (Contacts with Government)
Kumie Inose
Vice-President (International Activities)
Keisuke Hanaki
Key people
Kôdi Husimi
Akira Fujiwara
Toshiyuki Kobayashi
Websitewww.scj.go.jp/en/

The Science Council of Japan (SCJ) is a representative organization of Japanese scholars and scientists in all fields of sciences, including humanities, social sciences, life sciences, natural sciences, and engineering. Takashi Onishi [ja], president of Toyohashi Tech, is the elected president as of 2016, having been elected for two consecutive terms starting in 2013.[1] The SCJ is headquartered in Roppongi, a district of Minato, Tokyo.[2] Members of the SCJ are elected by scientists of all levels, including research scholars. Elected members are confirmed by the Government of Japan, a method similar to that of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States, upon which the structure of the SCJ was based. It was officially founded in January 1949 to function as an independent scientific statutory body under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister of Japan.[3]

As of 2015, the SCJ consists of 210 elected members appointed by the prime minister and 2,000 associate members. Its organizational setup includes a General Assembly, an executive board, three Section Meetings (namely Humanities and Social Sciences, Life Sciences, and Physical Sciences and Engineering), 30 committees based on fields of specialties, five Administrative Committees for operation, and issue-oriented ad hoc committees.[4]

History

The Science Council of Japan was founded by Harry C. Kelly during the American occupation of Japan after World War II.[5] A former professor of physics at Lehigh University, Kelly was working in the American occupation forces. He was appointed as the civilian chief of the Fundamental Research Branch, and was subsequently appointed its associate director. His first achievement was the creation of the Japan Association of Science Liaison, a private organisation. The organisation was developed into the Preparatory Committee (Sewaninkai) of the Scientific Research Organisation Renewal Committee.[5] It was eventually renamed the Science Council of Japan and governmentally constituted in 1949 as a "special organisation".[4] It was formally inaugurated on 20 January at its first general meeting.[6]

In 2020, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga rejected six candidates nominated for the council, drawing criticism from opposition lawmakers and academics.[7]

Activities

In June 2015, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of the Japanese government issued a directive to abolish or reduce humanities and social sciences in all national universities.[8] The Science Council of Japan opposed the order. Representing the resolution of the council's executive board, President Onishi held a press conference on 23 July condemning the official decision. He expressed the council's belief that the dissolution of these disciplines "may result in higher education in Japan losing its breadth and depth."[9]

The Science Council of Japan was a consultative and decision making body in Japan's high-level radioactive waste management policy. The Japanese government enacted the Designated Radioactive Waste Final Disposal Act in 2000, under which the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan (NUMO) was established. The operations and reports of NUMO were submitted to the council for inspection and evaluation in 2011. The council offered its suggestions for action to the government in 2012.[10]

References

  1. ^ "President Takashi Onishi is reelected as the head of the Science Council of Japan". Toyohashi University of Technology. 9 October 2014. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Science Council of Japan (SCJ)". iamp. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Science Council of Japan (SCJ)". IAP. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Science Council of Japan (SCJ)". PreventionWeb. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  5. ^ a b Mendelsohn, Everett, ed. (2002). Transformation and tradition in the sciences : essays in honor of I. Bernard Cohen. Cambridge (UK): Cambridge University Press. pp. 353–370. ISBN 978-0-521-52485-8.
  6. ^ Ohnami, Masateru (1992). Fracture and Society. Tokyo: Ohmsha. p. 293. ISBN 9784274086304.
  7. ^ Sieg, Linda; Takemoto, Yoshifumi (October 5, 2020). Doyle, Gerry; Fernandez, Clarence (eds.). "Japan's Suga, under fire, defends rejection of scholars for science panel". Reuters.
  8. ^ "Education Ministry instructs national universities to reduce humanities and social science courses". Japan Press Weekly. 10 June 2015. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  9. ^ "Science Council criticizes gov't policy to abolish humanities departments". Japan Press Weekly. 24 July 2015. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  10. ^ Edahiro, Junko (December 2014). "Science Council of Japan Releases Policy Recommendations on High-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal". JFS Newsletter. No. 124. Retrieved 24 November 2015.