Judge Abe on education policy

The mass media is placing much emphasis on Liberal Democratic Party chief Shinzo Abe’s hawkish and neoconservative plans for Japan if he becomes prime minister, but it seems there has been little or no mention of his plans for educating Japan’s young.

We can look back to his ideas and plans when he was prime minister the first time (2006-2007); I believe nothing has changed since then. At a recent dinner party attended by friends deeply involved with education in Japan, including two university professors, a senior high school principal, a kindergarten director and three teachers from junior and senior high schools, the main topic was the envisaged danger to all levels of education should the LDP, and thus Abe, succeed in the Dec. 16 Lower House election.

Most teachers at all levels seem to be left of center in their politics, as is the main teachers’ union (Nikkyoso), which, I have been told, is currently increasing its membership to an unprecedented level.

These teachers are unlikely to bend their knees to Abe’s hawkish, rightist and ultraconservative attitude toward education. I think this will ultimately lead to resistance and conflict and will hardly be conducive to the sorely needed improvement in the quality of Japanese education as a whole.

It is right and proper that the Japanese people be informed of every aspect of each political party’s plans for the future of their country. But I believe they are, on the whole, unaware of the danger to their country upon an LDP victory in the election. Abe has a moral duty and responsibility to clearly tell us what he thinks about, and what he wants, for the education of our young. On that basis, among his other policies, can he be fairly judged by the populace.

paul gaysford
tokyo

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.