American International Journal of Social Science

ISSN 2325-4149(Print), ISSN 2325-4165(Online) DIO: 10.30845/aijss

Prime Minister Suga and His Rejection of Six Nominees: A Study of Speech Styles
Shoji Azuma

The new Prime Minister of Japan, Yoshihide Suga (2020-),recently rejected six academic nominees for the prestigious Science Council of Japan, creating a stir in academic and political circles as well as among the general public. Though funded by the government, the Science Council of Japan makes independent policy recommendations and plays a key role in protecting academic freedoms in Japan. Such refusals are unprecedented during the more than seventy year history of the Council, established in 1949 to chart a new course for a democratic Japan at the end of World War II. Suga has not yet offered an explanation for rejecting sixof the 105 nominees, other than to ensure the “wide and comprehensive” activities of the Council. The present paper argues that the speech orientation of Prime Minister Suga, specifically his tendency to use “report-talk” over “rapport-talk,” is important for understanding the controversy, and that Suga would likely improve his connection with his audiences, if he were to use more emotive speech, or “rapport-talk.”

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