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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 August 31 - September 6  > Teachers’ union to Education Minister: Don’t force public schools to express condolences during Abe state funeral
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2022 August 31 - September 6 [POLITICS]

Teachers’ union to Education Minister: Don’t force public schools to express condolences during Abe state funeral

September 2 & 3, 2022

The All Japan Teachers and Staff Union (Zenkyo) on September 2 made a representation to the education minister, demanding that the ministry not force public schools to express condolences during the state funeral for former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo planned to be held late this month.

In the representation, Zenkyo pointed out that Education Minister Nagaoka Keiko on August 30 remarked that the ministry will not ask for the cooperation of local public agencies and education boards in expressing condolences on the day of Abe’s state funeral.

On the other hand, Zenkyo pointed out, Prime Minister Kishida Fumio on August 31 announced that each government ministry and agency will display sympathy for former PM Abe during the state funeral. The union stressed that it is highly likely that with PM Kishida’s announcement, municipalities and education boards will request public schools to publicly mourn for ex-PM Abe on the day of the state funeral by such means as hoisting the Hinomaru flag at half-mast and observing a moment of silence. The teachers’ union said that such a request is unacceptable as it equates to the imposition on public schools the need to express condolences over Abe’s death and may constitute a violation of the Basic Act on Education which prohibits political activities in favor of or against any specific political party.

Zenkyo urged the Education Ministry to instruct local education boards not to make a request to fly a mourning flag and offer a moment of silence to public schools. The union also demanded that the ministry inform municipalities and their boards of education that there is no need to rearrange school events and other education activities scheduled on the day of the state funeral.


On the previous day, the Japan Federation of National Public Service Employees' Unions (Kokko-roren) issued a statement criticizing the Kishida government decision to display the national flag at half-mast and observe a moment of silence at each ministry and agency.

In the statement, Kokko-roren pointed out that to order national government workers to take a moment of silence during the state funeral could violate Article 19 of the Constitution guaranteeing the people’s freedom of thought and conscience. The union demanded that government ministries and agencies not impose on their workers the need to offer a moment of silence.

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