Japan: Oppn grills Suga over science panel furore, Covid response. Image Source: IANS News

Tokyo, Oct 28 : Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday faced questions by opposition parties over issues ranging from his rejection of scholars to an advisory body to the governments coronavirus response.

In their first face-off in the Diet since Suga took office in mid-September, Yukio Edano, the head of the largest opposition, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, criticized the Prime Minister's decision to keep six government critics off the Science Council of Japan as "illegal" and asked him to clearly explain the reasons behind the decision, the Japan times reported.

Suga, however, declined to give details on why he did not nominate the scholars who have been critical of security and anti-conspiracy legislation enacted under his predecessor Shinzo Abe.

Suga reiterated it was made based on "a comprehensive and panoramic" standpoint.

The government understands that it does "not necessarily have to name (all) members as recommended," said Suga, who has jurisdiction over the council.

The response by Suga at the Diet drew sharp reaction from members of the House of Representatives, forcing its chairman to call for silence several times.

The Prime Minister delivered his policy speech at the start of an extraordinary Diet session Monday, vowing to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, a move welcomed by the United Nations and countries sharing the goal of going carbon-free.

Edano asked Suga whether he was planning a shift toward nuclear power to achieve the goal.

The Premier responded by saying the government "will not just pursue renewable energy but all options including nuclear power." But he also said there is no change in the country's stance to lower its reliance to nuclear power as much as possible.

Asked about the government's understanding on the need to help medical institutions struggling financially amid the coronavirus pandemic, Suga vowed to provide necessary support.

"I will consider assistance so that we can ensure necessary local health care," he said.

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