先週記載された記事「Suga and the Science Council」に対する読者のリスポンスです。このような読者からのインプットを歓迎いたします。フィードバック、コメントなどがあれば、ぜひ気軽に連絡ください。
A reader response to the article ‘Suga and the Science Council’ published last week.
We welcome responses like these, and would love to have more reader input, feedback, comments and more.
As a neutral academic institution, the Science Council of Japan has an important role in the democracy of our country. Therefore, the fact that Prime Minister Suga and his government decided to make a decision about the eligibility of the members of the Council is a major problem. However, it can be said that the real issue lies with the Science Council itself. For example, there was a study at Hokkaido University in which miniscule bubbles were attached to the hulls of ships in order to study the drag and efficiency of those vessels. It is reported that the study could have resulted in up to a 10% gain in fuel efficiency. Of course, this would assist ships of all types, not only limited to those of the Japan Naval Self Defense Force, but also civilian shipping vessels, which could have vastly increased the efficiency of Japan’s shipping routes. However, the Science Council of Japan denounced the studies as being ‘of military nature’, and in 2018, after pressure from the council on the President of Hokkaido University, the university ceased its study. Other examples include promising help to China, a country embroiled in multiple human rights violations, and other serious problems. The Science Council of Japan has a duty to preserve the validity of democracy in Japan, Japanese national interest. Finally, its most important aspect, neutrality as an institution. This is the biggest issue that comes to mind when considering this event, not the fact that 6 out of 105 scholars were rejected.
Why would I write about transgender people? I was asked this question about the article I wrote last week, and it got me thinking. I’m not transgender, I don’t know anyone transgender, so why would I? Should I? Should a person with next to no connection or relation to the topic of transgender, write an article, voice an opinion about it?
I am a high school student in Japan, a developed, safe, stable country. My parents have jobs, we have food on the table every night. There are people in the world that have none of this. But hey, they’re thousands of miles away. Nameless, and faceless. Will the fact that they go hungry affect me? No, not really. So, should I not care? Should I not have an opinion? What about the race and police brutality issues still embroiling the United States? Should I not have an opinion, not care? The conflict in Nigeria? In Armenia?
I don’t think so. Those of us fortunate to be relatively unscathed in daily life should not be ignoring the issues of the world, just because they don’t affect us. There is, however, a difference between caring about an issue unrelated to you, and being insensitive and intrusive. Perhaps my article strayed more towards the latter than it should have.
However, the purpose of our project, and this platform is to spark discussion, and to foster debate. We want people who disagree with us to speak out, to tell us why they think the way they do. If you disagree with the things I have written, I would be happy to hear criticisms and indeed, use the platform we have to spread your opinion, even if it is in total disagreement with mine. Slightly inflammatory, even aggressive articles, while crude, can be a useful tool to elicit feedback and opinions from an audience.
Why high schoolers? This question also continually crosses my mind, every time I write an article for this project. We aren’t as experienced, or as knowledgeable as many other people in the world. I’ve seen people criticize the young climate activist Greta Thunberg online, telling her to ‘go back to school’, ‘shut up and learn’, and other variations of that refrain. And while there is some truth to that statement, I still think there is merit in young people, expressing their opinions and sharing their thoughts.
First of all, problems and issues relating to school, and young people. While there may be academics and professionals that study and think about this for a living, and who have done so for many years, young people are actually going through, and having to deal with the issues. Take the switch to online learning, or bullying. Yes, you can give statistics, and show case studies, but the opinions and thoughts of the students themselves remain vitally important.
In addition, interest in social issues should be encouraged from a relatively young age. While it shouldn’t be all consuming, having some knowledge, and opinions about the goings-on in our world is important. And who do students interact, talk, and communicate most with? Other students. The opinions of other students, especially about issues that may seem far away, make them seem more accessible, more available to talk about and discuss. While some may be reluctant to read a newspaper, or watch the news, opinions of students about important issues are much more easily read. Not only this, but by opening the floor to other students, other voices, we can provide a way for our readers to express their own opinions to a public forum, anonymously, and receive feedback and other opinions.
We are also open to taking topic requests from our audience. If you have a topic you want to hear an opinion about, something you want to know about, let us know, and we’ll do our best to write about it. If you feel like our articles and opinions are lacking in variety, and want to add a different viewpoint, we’d be happy to have you writing articles as part of our team. This project is still nascent, and will require refining and tweaking along the way. But we are determined to keep it going. We want to make a difference. And we will.