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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 October 29 - November 4  > Joint efforts needed to defend cultural activities
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2014 October 29 - November 4 [SOCIAL ISSUES]
editorial 

Joint efforts needed to defend cultural activities

November 3, 2014
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Culture Day on November 3 was established in 1948 as “[a] day to love freedom and peace and to promote culture” under the post-war Constitution. Many people, however, are unable to enjoy art and culture as much as before.

Data of the Cabinet Office shows that in September, the number of households who answered that they will cut expenditures for concerts, theater, movies, and museums for the next three months was more than those who answered the opposite.

It is because workers’ incomes have been falling. The consumption tax rate which went up to 8% in April has added a further blow to the situation. Higher admission fees associated to the higher tax rate have also been contributing to discouraging many people from attending cultural events.

Japan used only 0.11% of the national budget for culture in the FY 2012, one eighth that of South Korea and one tenth that of France.

Two years ago, the Japan Council of Performers’ Organizations and various artists’ groups successfully had the Diet adopt their petition calling for an increase in the cultural-related budget. However, the Agency for Cultural Affairs requested the budget for the next fiscal year to be kept at the same level as the present expenditure for arts/culture programs, including funding for arts organizations and animation production.

Since the inauguration of the second Abe government, infringements on the freedom of expression have been occurring. For example, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum forced an artwork critical of Prime Minister Abe’s visit to the war-glorifying shrine of Yasukuni out of the exhibition. In Saitama, a haiku (17 syllable poem) composed by a Saitama resident on the theme of the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution was removed from a municipal newsletter.

The Japanese Constitution guarantees freedom of thought, speech, and expression as fundamental human rights vital for a democratic society. Rejection of creative art on display by public authorities without due cause is a clear violation of the Constitution. The Japanese Communist Party will continue to work together with as many cultural leaders as possible to defend cultural activities as the Constitution guarantees.

Past related articles:
> Metropolitan museum demands removal of ‘political’ work [March 2, 2014]
> Support development of art and culture [November 3, 2012]
> 580,000 people call for a budget hike for arts and culture [December 3, 2010]
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