On July 9th, the Japanese ruling Party, the Liberal Democratic Party posted on their official website, a form asking people to send in cases where school teachers have deviated from political neutrality, citing among others an example where a teacher expressed strong concerns over “sending children to war” or strong opposition over a controversial and unconstitutional law passed by the LDP in 2015. It is a grave threat to democracy, if the ruling party truly thinks these opinions constitute a deviation from neutrality.
In 2013, Vice Prime Minister Taro Aso has mentioned in public that “we should be learning from the Nazis”. Currently, it seems the party is not just learning from the Nazis, they are aggressively using strategies from their playbook. This absurdity must be stopped.
The online form read as follows:
“The Party commission on Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology is in pursuit of unbiased education, but it is a fact that there are teachers who argue in the field of education that ‘a politically neutral education is impossible’ or that ‘we should not be sending our children to war’ and conduct teachings that deviate from neutrality. While education for the purpose of building sovereign citizenry is important, there is a concern that a biased education will make students lose a diverse perspective, and the party is deeply concerned that politically biased education being conducted purposefully for mock voting classes in high school education will bring students to conclusions tainted in certain ideologies. Hence we conduct this survey on the actual situation of political neutrality in school education. We ask all for your cooperation.”
And the form continues below to ask the cooperator to say specific when a certain teacher has deviated from political neutrality. Asking for the informants name and contact as a mandatory information to complete the form.
This is apparently a system with many similarities with the Nazi regime asking people to turn in Jews in the community. There is no logical argument which says teachers telling students not to send children to war is beyond political neutrality. It is just basic human decency.
What is more, the online statement has been altered a couple of times after criticisms mounted on the internet, and the changes give us a glimpse of what the LDP is really looking for.
The second version of the statement listed as examples of not neutral education where a teacher may say the “securities laws should be abolished”. This sites a highly controversial law passed in 2015 that allows changes to the security protocol of Japan. A majority of professors in Law had condemned the law as unconstitutional, but the LDP decided to railroad the law in spite of public opposition. Many people still consider this law unconstitutional and that the law must be abolished or at the least be changed to follow the constitution.
There have been multiple polls showing that.
So essentially what the LDP is asking is to turn in teachers, including those from public schools overseen by the government, who have expressed opposition to their own policies.
This is not what a matured democracy is supposed to look like. This is fascism, and it comes from the Nazi playbook.
The current version of the online form can be seen here.
* The current version of the statement on the online form takes out one of the examples and says “but it is also a fact that there are
teachers who argue in the field of education that ‘a politically neutral education is impossible’ and conduct teachings that deviated
* The translations from the original text have been provided by the author of this release and is not the official translation provided by the LDP
For further information please contact:
Pacific Asia Resource Center