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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 February 28 - March 6  > Education minister’s remarks show Abe Cabinet’s lack of respect for human rights
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2007 February 28 - March 6 [POLITICS]

Education minister’s remarks show Abe Cabinet’s lack of respect for human rights

February 27, March 1, 2007
In an address made in Nagasaki Prefecture on February 25 concerning the Fundamental Law of Education that was adversely revised last year, Education Minister Ibuki Bunmei said, “Japan is an ethnically homogeneous country that the Yamato people has reigned over.”

This outrageous remark totally ignores the existence of the ethnically distinct Ainu people and of the Korean residents who were forcibly brought to Japan from the Korean Peninsula during the colonial rule of Japan.

This shows that the minister who took the lead to impose “patriotism” in education by pushing ahead with the adverse revision of the education law has little understanding of the existence of ethnic minorities.

Ibuki also reportedly described Japanese society as a society excessively concerned with human rights by saying, “Although human rights are important, if respected too much, the Japanese society will be plagued by a ‘human rights-metabolic syndrome’.”

In Japan, however, human rights are seriously undermined by government policies, far from “respected too much.” In Kita-Kyushu City, a man starved to death while the city government was rejecting his application for a livelihood protection subsidy.

On February 26, commenting on Ibuki’s remarks, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo said, “I don’t think Ibuki’s remarks are problematic.” Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki Yasuhisa also made similar comments. These comments showed the Abe Cabinet itself totally lacks respect for human rights.

This is not the first time for Ibuki to make such remarks.

At the Upper House special committee meeting last November, Ibuki likened the then effective education law to meat, milk, and butter, and said “Taking them too much will cause a ‘metabolic syndrome’.” He also compared individual human rights in the same way.

In the same committee meeting, he also stated that Japan is of one race, one state, and one culture. He has always cherished this view.

In 1986, then Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro said that Japan is a state of one race, provoking criticism from across the world. Ibuki has made no reflection at all.

Ibuki once derided the unemployed as “lazy people.”
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