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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 February 29 - March 6  > ‘Kimigayo’ singing bill forced through in Osaka City
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2012 February 29 - March 6 [EDUCATION]

‘Kimigayo’ singing bill forced through in Osaka City

March 1, 2012
The Osaka City Assembly on February 28 forcefully enacted an ordinance bill to oblige teachers and staff to stand up and sing “Kimigayo (Reign of your Majesty)” at the city’s public school events, infringing on the freedom of thought and conscience guaranteed by Article 19 of the Constitution.

The ordinance also obliges the hoisting of the “Hinomaru (Rising Sun)” flag at the city’s public facilities.

The “Hinomaru” flag and “Kimigayo” were used as symbols of the wartime rule of Tenno (Emperor) which caused tremendous sufferings to many people throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Proposed by Osaka City Mayor Hashimoto Toru, the ordinance was approved in the city assembly after his own party “Osaka Ishin-no Kai” agreed with the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties on minor changes. The Japanese Communist Party and Democratic Party-affiliated groups opposed the “Kimigayo” ordinance.

JCP assemblyperson Inoue Hiroshi stated, “Education needs to be politically neutral. What the mayor is trying to do is legitimize extreme political intervention in education.”

A similar ordinance is already on the books in Osaka Prefecture which is governed by Matsui Ichiro who is also an “Osaka Ishin-no Kai” executive.

Governor Matsui has submitted to the Osaka Prefectural Assembly another ordinance bill to enable authorities to dismiss teachers and staff if they disobey an official order three times. Mayor Hashimoto is also planning to submit a similar bill to the city assembly.

Forcing teachers to sing “Kimigayo” at school ceremonies may put pressure on parents and students to do the same.
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