Masami Yamazumi, a former president of Tokyo Metropolitan University and a longtime critic of Japan’s education system, died of pneumonia Saturday, his family said. He was 72.

Yamazumi studied at the University of Tokyo and its graduate school, becoming the first person in Japan to earn an education doctorate in the postwar era.

He regularly criticized government intervention in education matters and opposed attempts to force schools to use the Hinomaru and “Kimigayo” in school ceremonies.

The Hinomaru was officially designated as the national flag and “Kimigayo” as the national anthem in the late 1990s.

When the textbook screening system deployed by the education ministry became a source of diplomatic tension with other Asian nations in the early 1980s, Yamazumi submitted an appeal to the government that raised doubts over the system.

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