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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 November 21 - 27  > Study session at US base for Okinawa public school teachers under fire for intent to lower Okinawans' resistance to US military presence
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2018 November 21 - 27 [US FORCES]

Study session at US base for Okinawa public school teachers under fire for intent to lower Okinawans' resistance to US military presence

November 26, 2018
Akahata on November 25 learned that the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs will host an English training session for Okinawa public elementary school teachers at the U.S. Kadena Air Base in Okinawa.

The session will take place with the assistance of the U.S. Consulate General in Okinawa and the U.S. Defense Department.

In response to an inquiry by Japanese Communist Party representative Akamine Seiken, an Okinawa-elected Lower House lawmaker, the Foreign Ministry's Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement Division said that this is the first time for the Ministry to host a teachers' workshop of this kind at a U.S. military base in Japan.

Akamine criticized the Foreign Ministry for urging public school teachers to receive the English training at a U.S. base over the head of the Okinawa prefectural government which is in charge of directing public schools. He said, "It's not the business of Japan's Foreign Ministry at all."

Aiming at building a more robust foundation in Japan's foreign policy with the strengthening of the Japan-U.S. alliance as its linchpin, the Foreign Ministry is promoting the project in which it sends Okinawan college students to the United States. On July 9 in the Diet, Akamine pointed out, "The purpose of this project is to inculcate specific favorable ideas about the Japan-U.S. alliance upon the minds of young Okinawans."

Citing this Diet questioning, Akamine stressed, "To the same effect, the English training workshop at the U.S. Kadena Air Base this time will be held."

Takara Tetsumi, a professor at Ryukyu University graduate school, said, "I sense that the Ministry is hoping to weaken Okinawans' resistance to U.S. military bases."

Kamizato Ryuji, the Okinawa Teachers Union's secretary general, said, "Many primary school teachers are casting doubts on the need to hold a study session inside a U.S. military base. I am a junior high school English teacher, so I understand that many of them are struggling to find an effective way to teach English to small children. It should be the Ministry of Education or the Okinawa prefectural government, not the Foreign Ministry, that provide workshops for these teachers."
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