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Doc shows deputy chief Cabinet secretary involved in Japan science council rejections

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kazuhiro Sugita (Mainichi/Kan Takeuchi)
A document that the Cabinet Office provided to the House of Councillors budget committee's board members regarding new appointments to the Science Council of Japan is largely redacted. The handwriting above the redaction reads, "Those to be eliminated. (From the deputy chief Cabinet secretary)." Opposition parties believe that this corroborates Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kazuhiro Sugita's involvement in the decision not to appoint six scholars.

TOKYO -- Opposition parties are once more demanding Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kazuhiro Sugita appear before the Diet for questioning after the Cabinet Office released a document showing Sugita was indeed involved in Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's rejection of six nominees to the Science Council of Japan.

    The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) and other opposition parties made the request on Dec. 11 at a House of Councillors budget committee board of directors gathering.

    The document that the Cabinet Office provided to the committee on Dec. 10 is dated "R2.9.24" -- Sept. 24 of the second year of the Reiwa era, or the year 2020 -- and states, "Those to be eliminated. (From the deputy chief)" in handwritten characters. The rest has been blacked out. It is said that the Cabinet Office has recognized that the "deputy chief" noted on the document refers to Sugita. Sept. 24 is the date on which the approval document for turning down the appointment of the six scholars was drafted.

    At the Dec. 11 budget committee board of directors meeting, opposition parties sought disclosure of the redacted portion of the document, but the Cabinet Office refused. It is believed that the names of the six scholars who were denied appointment to the Science Council of Japan were listed there.

    Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato admitted at a Nov. 5 upper house budget committee meeting that a document explaining the how and why of the six nominees' rejection was being kept by the Cabinet Office. However, Kato had refused to submit it to the committee, saying that it was "a record regarding personnel matters."

    (Japanese original by Kazuhiko Hori, Political News Department)

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