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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 June 26 - July 2  > Power shouldn’t interfere in choice of textbooks by schools: JCP Tokyo
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2013 June 26 - July 2 [EDUCATION]

Power shouldn’t interfere in choice of textbooks by schools: JCP Tokyo

June 27 & 28, 2013
The Japanese Communist Party Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Members’ Group on June 26 visited the Tokyo Education Bureau to demand that its Board of Education respect decisions made by public high schools about textbooks to be used in the next school year.

Representing the JCP assemblypersons’ group, Oyama Tomoko took up the case last year in which the education board interfered with the adoption of a specific history textbook.

The textbook published by Jikkyo Shuppan Co., Ltd. carried a description saying that “there is a move in some municipalities to force public employees” to stand up for the Hinomaru (Rising Sun) flag and sing the Kimigayo (His Majesty’s Reign) song. The education board called schools to say that the book in question is “incompatible with the board’s view”. As a result, none of schools last year adopted that textbook.

Concerning this incident, officials said, “That wasn’t considered to be pressure.”

Pointing out that textbooks used in a school determine what that school will teach and what the students there will learn, the JCP group demanded that the authorities respect individual schools’ selection of textbooks and should not directly interfere in their decisions under the pretext of providing information, guidelines, or advice.

* * *

Tokyo education board views the book ‘inappropriate’

The Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education on June 27 issued a notice of its view to each public high school that the use of Jikkyo Shuppan’s history textbook is inappropriate.

Article 51 of the School Education Act states that high school education shall provide an opportunity for children to learn about society and cultivate their critical thinking skills.

Expert in history textbooks Tawara Yoshifumi said that the authorities’ decision this time violates not only the freedom of publishing activities and speech but also the spirit of the law.

The need is for schools to show students different perspectives and provide a place to discuss them critically with each other, Tawara added.

Past related articles:
> Tokyo education board intervenes in high schools’ selection of textbooks [September 13, 2012]
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