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Rallies held for scrapping education bill in Upper House

Struggles against the enactment of a bill to adversely revise the Fundamental Law of Education are going on under a tense situation in which the ruling coalition shows their strong intention to pass the bill in the House of Councilors special committee.

On November 29, a rally was held at the Hibiya Amphitheater in Tokyo in which about 2,500 people took part in opposition to a forcible passage of the bill.

National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) President Ban'nai Mitsuo in his speech pointed out that faced with the strong opposition to the bill, the ruling parties cannot easily enact the bill despite the fact that they occupy a majority in the Diet. Ban'nai called on the participants to strengthen the struggle by stating, "Let us strive to scrap the bill by gaining the strong opposition of the public."

Japanese Communist Party Diet Policy Commission Chair Kokuta Keiji criticized the ruling parties for rushing to pass the bill, pointing out that discussions in the House of Councilors on such important educational issues as bullying, failure to teach required subjects, and the planting of pre-scripted questions in town meetings have just begun, and that the dangers behind the bill have been clearly revealed.

Earlier in the day, about 700 people from four organizations, including the People's Big Movement Organizing Committee petitioned the Diet, and submitted 170,000 signatures calling for the bill to be scrapped. These signatures were entrusted to JCP House of Councilors member Daimon Mikishi, who explained the tense situation in the Diet.

Participants were encouraged by reports that in Kyoto Prefecture, more than half of high school teachers have expressed their support for an appeal calling for the new education bill to be scrapped and that in Miyagi Prefecture, a campaign is underway calling on all parent-teacher association chairs to publish an appeal urging the Diet to thoroughly discuss the bill.

In Sapporo City in Hokkaido on November 25, more than 10,000 teachers, workers, students and residents took part in a rally, calling for the bill to be discarded. Hokkaido's trade unions, including the Zenroren-affiliated high school teachers union and the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Rengo)-affiliated teachers union, joined forces in sponsoring this rally.

In Hokkaido, about 400 people took part in a similar rally in Asahikawa City on November 18, and 2,000 people joined a rally and marched in Hakodate City on November 22.

Also underway is a campaign to issue an advocacy ad in opposition to the bill in four major papers in the prefecture.
- Akahata, November 26, 30, 2006

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