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Tokyo intends to sell school facilities to France

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is considering selling metropolitan high school buildings as a disused Tokyo asset to France despite many children still wanting to go to school there.

During a financial committee meeting of the Assembly on October 4, Japanese Communist Party member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly Tazoe Tamio expressed his opposition to the plan, criticizing it for making light of the importance of education.

He stated, gHow can the Metropolitan Government sell a Tokyo school to another country at a time when an increasing number of Tokyo children are being left without any public high schools to go to after they graduate from junior high school?h

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is planning to sell Ikebukuro Commercial High School buildings and the building area (about 12,000sq.m) to the French government at about 4.1 billion yen. It also plans to lease 8,830sq meters of the high school playground to France for 20 years.

The high school was closed down in March 2003 as part of the consolidation project of Metropolitan Government-owned high schools. The number of high schools was reduced from 208 in 1997 to the present 180. The project began with the purpose of dealing with the declining birthrate. However, Tokyofs population has been growing.

Tazoe pointed out that amid the ongoing downturn in household income, there has been an increase in the number of children who want to go to a public high school because tuition fees are much lower than at private high schools, and that also the number of those who wish to go to an evening high school is increasing because they need to work to make ends meet. Tazoe said, gHowever, many of them cannot enter any public high schools because metropolitan high schoolsf enrollment capacity is small.h

A Metropolitan Government official in reply said that a lease of a public school to a foreign country gis an appropriate and effective usage of Tokyofs assets.h

- Akahata, October 6, 2010

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