Japan's Suga grilled by opposition over science council veto, carbon pledge

Source: Xinhua| 2020-10-28 21:32:56|Editor: huaxia

TOKYO, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday was grilled in parliament by a main opposition party over a number of issues spanning his vetoing of scholars' appointments to the science council, to his pledge to achieve carbon neutrality.

Suga's decision not to appoint six people as new members of the Science Council of Japan which operates under the auspices of the premiere but makes proposals independently from the state, was criticized as "illegal" by the head of an opposition party.

Yukio Edano, the head of the largest opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, described the prime minister's decision as "illegal" and asked him to clearly explain the reasons behind his decision.

Suga, as has been his position since not appointing six of the 105 nominees who were set to join the council from earlier this month, opted not to provide details on his decision, despite it being the first time since 2004 that a prime minister has decided against appointing nominees.

He did mention that he was considering the council's funding by taxpayers' money and suggested that there may be some impartiality among its members regarding age, education and other factors.

Suga went on to say that he has no intention to change his decision regarding the six shunned members.

"The government understands that it does not necessarily have to name all members as recommended," said Suga.

In terms of the Japanese leader's recent pledge for the country to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, Suga said it would be a difficult task.

"It is not easy to attain carbon neutrality by 2050," Suga said in response to a question as to his plans regarding nuclear energy.

"The government will not just pursue renewable energy but all options including nuclear power," Suga said, adding that Japan will, however, lower its dependence on nuclear power.

"We will work on maximizing the introduction of energy conservation and renewable energy, while lowering our dependence on nuclear power generation as much as possible," the Japanese leader said.

Regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, Edano highlighted the concern caused to the public by a shocking lack of face masks, a shortage of coronavirus testing facilities as well as the extent of the burden on the medical system.

"I will consider assistance so that we can ensure necessary local healthcare," Suga said, adding that he also vowed to "implement economic support measures without hesitation."

On foreign policy, Suga reiterated remarks he made earlier in the week during his first policy speech as the nation's leader. Enditem