When the Democratic Party of Japan swept to power last year, many people expected Japanese politics to become more rational. The Liberal Democratic Party had maintained a status quo that stifled meaningful change, and the DPJ supposedly won by promising to move forward.

But certain impulses have proven difficult to resist. One of the planks of the DPJ platform was a plan to eliminate the need for students to pay tuition at public high schools and provide subsidies to those attending private high schools. The idea that students must pay for continuing their secondary education runs counter to the spirit of the fundamental education law, which guarantees equal educational opportunity to all residents of Japan.

However, many politicians and government officials seem to believe that some schools are more deserving of their largess. Currently, this notion is being expressed in the opinion that chosen gakko, or schools run by the North Korea-affiliated organization Chongryon, should be exempt from the planned tuition subsidies.