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Staff writer

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office is drafting an action plan to save the hearts and souls of the city’s children, by calling on Tokyo’s adults to scold them into good behavior.

Boldly titled “A Revolution in the Soul of Tokyo,” the plan aims to curtail an era where “self-centered lifestyles prevail” and where children are raised unable to follow society’s basic rules, city officials say.

“The parents — the young parents — are messed up. That’s why children can’t be saved,” Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara said Friday, referring to the murder of 2-year-old Haruna Wakayama in Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward by an acquaintance of her family. “That something like that could lead to murder shows something fundamental has gone wrong.”

The draft raises classroom collapse, bullying, children who refuse to go to school, subsidized dating and children who don’t show basic manners in public as examples of a general trend.

Besides a declining birthrate that encourages overprotected, spoiled children, the draft blames “a misplaced understanding of individualism and equality … that encourages self-centeredness and damages the authority of parents and teachers.”

The solution the city offers is summarized in seven rules for Tokyo adults, which include, “Make children say hello, goodbye and thank you,” “Make children tell you about their day,” “Don’t give in when children whine for something; make them endure,” and “Scold other people’s children.”

To support tentative parents, city officials are considering creating a “Child-raising Psychology Test” that will place parents in categories, elaborating the pros and cons of each, and giving advice on how to raise children.

But with metro officials admitting that they themselves often fail to observe the same behavior the city wants to see in children, it is unclear how effective the campaign will be.

“Everyday, I pass people who I work with, without saying or receiving so much as a hello,” an official in the city’s public relations division said. “You learn these things as children. It’s hard to teach adults.”

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