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Tokyo punishes another 35 teachers for refusing to stand for Hinomaru and Kimigayo


   The Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education on March 30 took disciplinary actions against 35 public school teachers who had refused to stand up for the Hinomaru flag and sing Kimigayo at graduation ceremonies in 2007.


   Since it issued a directive in October 2003 ordering teachers and students to stand up for the Hinomaru flag and sing Kimigayo at school ceremonies, it has taken disciplinary actions, including reprimands and wage cuts, against a total of 381 teachers.


   A group of teachers who were punished previously held a rally on the same day to support the 35 teachers. Co-representative Hoshino Naoyuki called for their struggle to be advanced, saying, gOur resistance to the eHinomaru and Kimigayof directive has become the front-line fort for peace, human rights, and democracy in this country,h


   After the rally they converged on the Tokyo Metropolitan School Personnel In-Service Training Center where the Board of Education handed out the punishment to the teachers, and called for the disciplinary measures and the directive to be revoked.


   The Tokyo District Court last September ruled that the compulsion of Hinomaru and Kimigayo based on the directive of the Metropolitan Board of Education goes against teachersf freedom of thought and conscience, and is thus unconstitutional. Despite this ruling, the education board pushed ahead with the disciplinary actions on the grounds that it is appealing against the ruling.

                   - Akahata, March 31, 2007


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