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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 November 2 - 8  > Gunma JCP demands cancellation of SDF experience program for junior high school students
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2016 November 2 - 8 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Gunma JCP demands cancellation of SDF experience program for junior high school students

November 2 and 4, 2016
The Japanese Communist Party in the Gunma Prefectural Assembly on October 31 at an assembly committee meeting demanded that the Self-Defense Forces’ experience program for junior high school students be cancelled.

JCP prefectural assembly member Sakai Hiroaki cited a report regarding the program which was uploaded on the website of the SDF’s local recruiting center in Gunma. In the report, a photo showed a junior high school student learning how to operate a missile launcher. Another photo showed students in camouflage suits lining up in front of a tank. These photos were captioned, “Can you shoot down a plane?” and “Let’s join the SDF!”

JCP Sakai pointed out that such a program is unacceptable because the SDF uses the program as part of its recruiting activities.

In response, the chief of the prefectural education board said he sees little problem in the SDF enlistment experience program, adding that students may be interested in the SDF because of its disaster relief efforts.

Sakai stressed that the SDF’s prime role is not to help disaster victims but to defend the nation, in other words, to fight in the battlefield. He said that an SDF base is far from an ordinary workplace.

With the Abe government seeking to create a war-fighting nation, the Defense Ministry and the SDF are stepping up their efforts to attract teenagers. The All Japan Teachers and Staff Union (Zenkyo), which is affiliated with the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren), in October made representations to the defense authorities and demanded that the SDF refrain from excessive recruiting activities. Zenkyo Vice President Nakamura Hisashi told Akahata that Gunma’s case is no exception. He pointed out that SDF bases in other prefectures also invite students to their workplace experience programs and to study tours of live-fire training drills.

Nakamura stated that Gunma’s program is totally inappropriate to school education which is intended to teach children the importance of peace and human life. He said that what students really need is an education based on Japan’s pacifist Constitution.

Past related articles:
> 160 junior high school students in Saga Pref. participate in SDF experiential learning activities [January 12, 2015]
> Public junior high school invites students for SDF’s live-fire drill [June 25 & 26, 2015]
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