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"Stop destroying education in Tokyo"

About 350 teachers and citizens held a rally in Tokyo on December 10, demanding Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintaro and the Tokyo Board of Education stop coercing public school teachers and pupils to sing Kimigayo and show respect to the rising sun Hinomaru flag in violation of the constitutional freedom of thought and expression.

Fourteen groups, including the "Freedom for School Network" and the Tokyo Network of Citizens and Teachers to Stop the Destruction of Education" organized the rally.

Fifteen teachers and parents spoke about how democratic principles at elementary, junior high, senior high schools, and universities have been undermined in Tokyo.

An elementary school teacher said, "At a school ceremony, I was looking at the children while the Hinomaru flag was being hoisted, and I was later 'reprimanded.' School has now become a place where an educator cannot be an educator."

A parent of a disabled child said, "I'm anxious about whether my child may enter high school evening classes because many of them have been closed."

A former teacher said, "Against attacks against sex education at Nanao High school for disabled children by the metropolitan board of education, teachers filed a lawsuit and now 32 more teachers and others joined in this lawsuit, representing an increase in our movement."

Participants adopted the appeal, "Let's stop the destruction of education in Tokyo by defending the Constitution and the Fundamental Law of Education."

They also adopted a special appeal requesting that the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education chief Nakamura Masahiko retract the statement he made at the Metropolitan Assembly that he would intensify the board's steps of enforcing teachers to guide pupils to sing Kimigayo.
-Akahata, December 11, 2005

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