• Kyodo News

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An education panel of the House of Representatives on Thursday approved a set of three reform bills aimed at instilling patriotism, reinforcing state control over local education boards and requiring teachers to renew their licenses every decade.

Members of the governing Liberal Democratic Party and coalition partner New Komeito voted on the bills, which are set to pass through the Lower House on Friday before being sent to the House of Councilors.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has put priority on education reform, hopes the bills will be enacted during the current Diet session through June 23, coalition sources said.

Abe told reporters Thursday evening he was pleased the panel approved the bills because they are important in helping the Cabinet’s educational reform plan move forward.

Earlier in the day, the lower chamber’s Special Committee on Rebuilding Education held its final deliberations on the bills.

Abe, in reply to questions from both the ruling and opposition camps at the committee, said, “It is extremely important to teach morality and a sense of public duty in schools.”

One of the bills will revise the School Education Law by adding a provision for making patriotism one the goals of compulsory education. Another will amend the regional education administration law by reinforcing the education minister’s power to manage schools.

The third bill is designed to strip teachers of tenure and instead require them to renew their licenses every 10 years.

The move came after the postwar basic education law was revised in December to instill patriotism, a move that was met with strong protests, particularly from teachers.

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