The JSP "document syntax" is primarily intended to be used for machine-generated pages rather than hand-written pages.
If you want to rid your pages of scriptlets (a worthy goal). you'd be better off doing so by refactoring to be sure that all processing is handled by the page's servlet controller and the use of the JSTL and custom tags on the JSP itself.
An odd reason - we are using a content repository which doesn't recognise the <% tags. So I was trying to find a way of making everything on the pages xml compliant. When it imports the files it strips them all out.
But I'm starting to think - why should I? I should be able to program my jsp's however I like! The content repository will have to get around it.