Tokyo pro-Pyongyang school to sue government over tuition waiver rejection

Kyodo

A pro-North Korea high school in Tokyo will file a damages suit against the government over its decision not to extend a tuition waiver program to such schools in Japan, its principal said.

The suit will be filed shortly with the Tokyo District Court because the new government led by the Liberal Democratic Party decided to limit the waiver system last December in response to lack of progress on North Korea’s past abductions of Japanese nationals, Sin Gil Ung, the head of the school, said Thursday at a news conference in Tokyo.

“The Japanese government’s decision shows obvious discrimination (against pro-Pyongyang schools) and it’s unforgivable for a country ruled by law,” Sin said.

A third-year student of the high school, who also attended the news conference along with two of his peers, voiced his determination to continue fighting the government’s decision because it tramples on their rights.

The tuition waiver program was introduced in April 2010 as one of the key policies of the previous Democratic Party of Japan-led administration and applies to all students — including those at foreign schools that the education ministry recognizes as having curricula similar to Japanese high schools.

Since the introduction, a ministry panel has been screening pro-North Korea schools based on application criteria, such as the number of teachers and facilities. Suits filed by similar schools are now pending at district courts in Osaka and Nagoya.