Institute for the Study of Social Justice
Refusing to Stand for "Kimigayo"
(87 minutes/in Japanese with English subtitles)
Directors: Matsubara Akira and Sasaki Yumi (Video Press)
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Room L921, 9th Floor, Central Library
Yotsuya Campus, Sophia University
Since the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education issued a decree to strictly enforce the hoisting of Hinomaru and the singing of Kimigayo at school ceremonies in 2003, over 340 public school teachers in Tokyo have so far faced disciplinary actions for "negligence of duties." Although the Tokyo Local Court ruled such coercion unconstitutional in September 2006, the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education took disciplinary measures against a further 35 teachers in March 2007 and appealed to Tokyo High Court. The punitive measures of the Tokyo Board of Education are cumulative, and as a consequence, it looks quite possible at this point that some teachers will face dismissal in March 2008 --if they continue to refuse to stand for Kimigayo.
Such developments are not limited to Tokyo public schools, and are indeed of particular relevance to those who are in teaching professions at school as well as university levels. The new Law on National Referenda that the Abe government enacted last month contains a stipulation that prohibits teachers (and public servants) to "utilize their positions" during future campaigns on constitutional revisions --in other words, a school teacher or university professor who expresses a view that does not conform with the government proposal may very well face similar disciplinary measures for "negligence of duties."
This documentary film follows the school teachers, and their students, as the teachers refuse to stand for Kimigayo and face pay-cut, suspension, and re-training programs. The doors open at 17:00, and the movie screening is followed by a Q&A session with Ms. Kawarai Junko, who is currently suspended from her position at a school for the disabled in Tokyo.
This event represents the first part of a program entitled "Is Freedom in Danger?" organized by the Institute for the Study of Social Justice, Sophia University. It will be followed by a symposium on October 11, where Prof. Takami Katsutoshi (Sophia Law School) will speak on the subject of constitution and freedom, Father Tani Daiji (Bishop of Saitama, Catholic Church) on freedom of religion, and Koichi Nakano (Sophia University) on the contemporary politics of illiberalism (all in Japanese).
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