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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 June 24 - 30  > Public junior high school invites students for SDF’s live-fire drill
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2015 June 24 - 30 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Public junior high school invites students for SDF’s live-fire drill

June 25 & 26, 2015
A public junior high school in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture, is asking its first-year students to join in a school visit to watch a live ammunition exercise to be held in the Japanese Self-Defense Forces’ East Fuji Maneuver Area. This information was revealed by concerned parents.

The drill, called the Fuji Firepower Exercise, is conducted every August by the Ground SDF at the foot of Mount Fuji, a UN World Heritage site. Audience members can observe first hand a live fire exercise involving tanks, helicopters, and artillery. In 2014, around 2,300 SDF servicemen took part in the exercise and 29,000 people viewed it, according to the SDF’s website.

The junior high school in the document it handed out to the students explained that the planned school trip is a noncompulsory social studies outing during the summer vacation and that it will help them learn about the pacifism of the Constitution.

The paper argues that watching the exercise is a good way to understand how the SDF is prepared to defend Japan’s security.

Junior high schools in Yokohama City use a civics textbook published by rightist publisher Ikuhosha which states that the SDF is vital to maintain the peace of the country.

The principal of the junior high school said that the school will carry out this school excursion as planned.

Kato Makoto of a liaison center of education-related movements in Kanagawa said that from an educational viewpoint, it is unacceptable to encourage young teenagers to go to witness military training exercises. Noting that the parents have good reason to feel anxious about their children going to such an activity, he stressed that the principal should cancel the school trip plan.

* * *

A local teachers’ group on June 25 made representations to the Yokohama City Board of Education, demanding that the board instruct the junior high school in question to cancel the plan to hold the school trip to the SDF’s training field to watch the live-fire exercise.

The group members in the representation said that it is problematic for a public school to organize a school excursion to view military war games as it amounts to public relations for the SDF. They expressed their concern that the excursion may instill admiration for the SDF in students aged between 12-13 years old, an age that is highly manipulative due to immaturity.

Past related articles:
> SDF fires at World Heritage site, Mt Fuji [August 26, 2013]
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