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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 February 15 - 21  > Welfare Ministry seeks to have children at daycare pay respect to ‘Hinomaru’ and sing ‘Kimigayo’
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2017 February 15 - 21 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Welfare Ministry seeks to have children at daycare pay respect to ‘Hinomaru’ and sing ‘Kimigayo’

February 16, 2017
The Ministry of Welfare on February 14 decided to incorporate into new childcare guidelines an instruction to have children aged between three and six at daycare centers pay respect to the “Hinomaru” flag and sing the “Kimigayo” song.

The Ministry plans to spell out in the FY 2018 childcare guidelines an instruction that reads: children shall familiarize themselves with the “national flag”, the “national anthem”, children’s songs, and Japan’s “traditional plays” at events in and out of daycare centers.

Regarding the characteristics of the proposed guidelines, Professor at Fukushima University Omiya Isao, an expert in child development, said that the Ministry intends to decide in detail about what the government believes all children should acquire before entering primary school. He also said that workers at daycare centers may be forced to meet this objective.

The proposed revision has a provision that preschool children shall develop a familiarity with the national flag by participating in ceremonies and other activities when the flag is hoisted as well as by having them make the flag by hand for such events as athletic meets.

Omiya voiced concern that the state government by checking up on or giving evaluations of each facility may pressure daycare personnel to display “Hinomaru” and have children draw the flag.

In Japan, the Ministry of Welfare and the Ministry of Education administer children’s daycare centers and nursery schools, respectively. The latter authorities already incorporate a similar objective in the ministry’s kindergarten education outlines.
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