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Teachers of different unions join forces

As the government and the ruling parties are bent on starting a process on adversely revising the Constitution and the Fundamental Law of Education, teachers affiliated with All Japan Teachers and Staff Union (Zenkyo) and the Japan Teachers' Union (Nikkyoso) are increasing cooperation in the effort to block these revisions by setting aside differences. They are on the common ground that the ideas established in the two laws should be the general principles of education.

In Toyama, where the prefecture assembly last year adopted a petition calling for revision of the basic education law, joint struggle is rapidly growing. The two unions last year together submitted opinions against the revision but could not prevent the assembly from adopting a resolution calling for the revision of the education law. This year they are again cooperating in the struggle to stop such a resolution.

In Saga Prefecture, four unions including those of private schools and universities published an appeal in opposition to a revision in the Fundamental Law of Education.

In Akita Prefecture, where the government is scrapping and reorganizing primary and junior high schools in depopulated areas, teachers from the two unions jointly established a network for defending the basic education law as their first joint action. Since 2003, the network held three forums in which citizens participated.

In Tokyo, where Governor Ishihara Shintaro forces public schools to unfurl the "Hinomaru" flag and sing "Kimigayo" in unison at ceremonies, teachers unions held meetings to consider entrance and graduation ceremonies in which students can be the key players and support the teachers who were unduly punished over "Kimigayo." In May, seven teachers' unions held a meeting with 1,200 people opposing cuts in teachers' wages and excessive meritocracy. In August, they petitioned to the Tokyo Board of Education. -- Akahata, October 4, 2005

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