Defend the Constitution and Education Law:10,000 people rally

About 10,000 people from all over the country held a rally in Tokyo on March 26 to increase the struggle against the attempt to remove the war-renouncing provisions from the Constitution as well as democratic elements from the Fundamental Law of Education and to express their determination that the future of children and education must not be dark but hopeful.

Among the speakers were children who attended the United Nations session in Geneva on the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 2003 and revealed that the Japanese government's report to the UN failed to state the real condition of children in Japan.

High school teachers from Hokkaido attended the rally holding "orange handkerchiefs of happiness" with messages calling for better education. Tokyo teachers and parents waved yellow and green work gloves to express their wish to give children a better learning environment. Participants from Wakayama brought in a paper "peace dragon" with messages calling for peace.

Okudaira Yasuhiro, a jurist who took part in the start-up of the "Article 9 Appeal", in his speech referred to the Fundamental Law of Education's preamble "resolution to contribute to the world and welfare of humanity by building a democratic and cultural state," and called for the broadest possible cooperation in defense of the law.

Speeches were made by guests, including Norberto Liwski, Argentine representative to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, and Mayor Uehara Kimiko of Kunitachi City, Tokyo.

The rally was co-sponsored by the All Japan Teachers and Staff Union (Zenkyo), the National Network in Defense of the Basic Law on Education, and teachers unions with various affiliates.

Zenkyo chair Ishimoto Iwao called for further actions to defend and thoroughly implement the Constitution and the Basic Law on Education.

The rally started with the singing of the song "The Constitution's Preamble" by Kitagawa Tetsu, a skit performed by "The News Paper" comedy company on "unwilling to attend the school" pupils and "nervous teachers," and many other performances. (end)

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