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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 April 19 - 25  > Bill to support home education is part of Abe-style education reform
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2017 April 19 - 25 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Bill to support home education is part of Abe-style education reform

April 21, 2017
It has come to light that a group of lawmakers intends to submit to the current Diet session a bill to induce parents to cultivate patriotism in children under the name of support for family education.

The so-called “bill to support home education” has been drawn up by a “parliamentary league to promote parental education” whose chairperson is Prime Minister Abe Shinzo.

“Parental education” is the pedagogy on childrearing advocated by an education group deeply connected with Japan’s largest rightist organization Nippon Kaigi. The teachings have something in common with PM Abe’s educational philosophy filled with nostalgia for the prewar empire.

The group’s textbook for "parental education" states that the parents’ outlook and behavior can influence their children and places an unreasonable emphasis on the parents’ role in children’s "proper" development. The group in the past came under fire for its argument that a child with developmental disability can be healed if the parents change their outlook and behavior.

On top of that, this rightist education group stresses the need to implant in children’s mind “love for the nation and patriotism”. The nurturing of such spirits was incorporated in the Fundamental Law of Education when it was revised in 2006 under the first Abe government.

After the 2006 revision of the law, Abe implemented various measures in the fields of school education and social education to impose “love for the nation” on children. The parliamentary league’s bill appears to be part of the Abe-style education reform.

Meanwhile, the bill has provoked public concerns. The Japan Lawyers Association for Freedom at the end of March issued a statement opposing the move to submit the bill. The statement criticized the bill for using assistance for family education to open the path for a revival of state control over people’s family life. It also pointed out that the bill aims to impose patriotism on children through family upbringing. The lawyers’ group said that the legislation requiring the general public to follow specific family values violates Article 24 of the Constitution which guarantees gender equality at home and each individual’s dignity.
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