Abe brings back education reform panel from 2006


The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe started discussions Thursday on education reform, which he says is essential for building a stronger nation.

“To re-create a strong Japan, it is essential to revive the education of the children who will be responsible for the country’s future,” Abe said during the first meeting of a 15-member panel on education reform. “The revival of education is a top priority, just as much as economic revival.”

The meeting marked the restart of the Education Rebuilding Council, which was created in 2006 under the first Abe administration. The panel will meet twice a month.

During his previous stint, Abe, known as an advocate of education reform, engineered changes to the Basic Act on Education, putting more emphasis on instilling a sense of patriotism in students.

The panel, consisting of scholars, business leaders and education-related Cabinet members, discussed measures to prevent school bullying, among other issues, at its first meeting.

Based on the panel’s discussions, the government and the ruling parties will aim to enact legislation to deal with bullying during the next Diet session.

The panel will also seek to reform boards of education across Japan after the Osaka board drew criticism recently for its slow response to a case in which a high school basketball captain committed suicide as a result of being beaten by his coach.

The council is tasked with recommending whether to change the nation’s 6-3-3-4 education system as well, which refers to six years in elementary school, three in junior high school, three in high school and four in college.

Criminal complaint filed


The family of a high school student who killed himself in Osaka last month filed a police complaint Wednesday against his basketball coach, who has admitted beating the youth repeatedly at practices.

The Osaka Prefectural Police accepted the complaint and will question the 47-year-old coach, who is also a teacher at the school, police sources said.

The family claims the coach of Sakuranomiya Senior High School’s basketball team physically abused the 17-year-old student during practice Dec. 22. The student, who was the captain of the team, hanged himself at home the next morning.

According to an investigation by the Osaka city board of education, the student told his mother after returning home Dec. 22 that the coach had beaten him 30 to 40 times that day.

The student left behind a letter to the coach that said he couldn’t fulfill his role as the captain the way the coach demanded and that he felt terrible because he was apparently singled out for punishment, whereas his teammates weren’t targeted.

In 2011, the Osaka Municipal Government received a complaint about physical abuse concerning the same teacher, but the board of education and the high school concluded, without speaking with the team, that no such punishment took place.

  • DA

    Hakubun Shimomura will be the foe of the year, except to those b-rds welcoming back militarism. As a friend of yuai, I shiver.

    • Edohiguma

      Funny how it’s significantly worse in those regards in China or even in South Korea, but there nobody complains. I love those double standards.

  • jmanngod

    as a registered and trained teacher… I am left wondering exactly what good “patriotism teaching” will have in education? If obfuscating historical facts is somehow helpful it seems to be a method missing from any pedagogy I have been exposed to.

  • Ben

    instilling a sense of patriotism is the exact opposite of education. if you want a population able to think for themselves, and come up with new ideas that can be sold to the world, the absolute worst position you can put them is in one where they are told what to think.

    • Edohiguma

      Incorrect. Look at the European or American school system. There is no instilling of any sense of patriotism anymore and the result? The western school systems are utterly broken.

      Okay, I wouldn’t say this has to do with a lack of patriotism in schools, but rather with a lack of discipline and authority.

      • Ben

        agree with you on the lack of discipline and erosion of authority, but i’d add to the add the habit to allow policy to be written by non-educators such as parents, psychologists, and education department bureaucrats.
        european schools are doing very well though with the exception of the UK (my bet is again as you said lack of authority, i personally know a few UK teachers who quit because they weren’t allowed to control their classes), but no patriotism in american schools? really? i can think of the pledge of allegience, national flags in front of every school, and psuedo-nationalism such as the whole school turning out to ball games.

      • Edohiguma

        You might want to go a continental school. It’s horrible. European schools are doing very well? I guess that explains why more and more kids coming out of school are simply dumb as dirt, who lack education and knowledge in even the most basic things (native language, math, basic geography, etc.) Well, okay, it depends on what you consider “doing very well”. If the goal is the total destruction of education and replacing it with political indoctrination along the left wing party line, then yes, they’re doing amazingly well. German kids have no clue about anything in physics, but they protest against nuclear power, while economy classes in the same country no longer teach about the economy but rather demonize capitalism. Norwegian kids visit “summer camps” where they are trained into rabid anti-Semites (and then get shot to bits by a lunatic). Teens all across the EU, with their political masters, were marching with mohammedan terrorist supporters through EU cities a few years ago and screamed for intifada against Israel, while their Hamas loving friends screamed for gassing the Jews. Yep, European schools are doing really well.

        Nut okay, the pledge of allegiance is a bit silly, but what’s so wrong with the national flag in front of a public school? Public buildings tend to have them. And why not have the whole school go to ball games?

        Plus, why is patriotism so horrible? Does this come from the insane notion that all countries are the same, all cultures are equal? Because that is really just insane. My own country and culture are better than other countries and cultures. That’s a simple fact that can be measured. We’re a democracy and we don’t oppress people. That already makes us better than, let’s say, China or Iran. But that’s probably racist and makes me a horrible nationalist, right?

      • Ben

        actually they’re doing very well:

        perhaps you mean *some* german kids have idea about physics? i’d be surprised if every kid took physics class all the way through high school! it the same in every country. i would agree that people who don’t know what they’re talking about should keep out of discussions though.

        nothing wrong with a national flag or any flag i’d say! and i wouldn’t say that patriotism is horrible, but teaching patriotism is. if you’ve travelled enough and found your own country to be worth supporting then great be patriotic, but being patriotic just because you’ve been taught it only leads to narrow-mindedness. as for myself i don’t really love my country so much as i love friendliness, good humour, fairness, etc. i love those things because they’re what i think is important, not because that’s what my country embodies.

    • Edohiguma

      PS: you want people to think for themselves, but most people don’t want that.

      Besides, a population that can think for itself is exactly what no politician or clergyman in the world wants. Thinking people are not good if you aspire power and influence, that goes for every politician on the planet. Left, right, center, it doesn’t matter.

      Hitler said it himself: “the large mass of people is blind and stupid” And he was right. Let’s take a rather recent example. Germany: in the aftermath of the Tohoku quake and tsunami Geiger counters there were sold out, some 200,000 people protested against nuclear power and the Green party milked the crisis for election campaigns, making some utterly laughable claims. Now if any of these thousands of people would have been able to think for themselves, they wouldn’t have done either and would not have voted for the Green party (but they did.)

      And that’s Germany, where the school system by now is more “liberal” and “progressive” (aka broken) than in the US. A school system that pumps out, literally, thousands of zombies every year: People who can’t even use proper German or basic math. It’s so bad that the police in Berlin has stopped using German test for the entrance exams to police academy.

      I’d rather have a little instilling of patriotism, together with some discipline and authority, than people who can’t even speak and write their own native language properly.

  • CommonSensei

    Banzai Banzai Ethno-Nationalism!

  • c brown

    Mr Abe is correct, the Japanese education system needs a major overhaul, but not of the kind that he envisages.

    How about getting rid of the antiquated exam system, the old-fashioned teacher-centredness of many Japanese high-school classrooms and the mind-numbing mechanical approach to learning that results from focusing mostly on ‘getting students through.’

    What is needed is to develop students who can be life-long self-motivated learners. Skills in active learning, critical thinking, creative problem solving, an international focus, modern technological and scientific capabilities and a sound foreign language education (particularly in English), which results in a strong ability to communicate with global effectiveness are higher priorities in today’s world than a blind allegiance to the narrow ‘patriotic values’ of a generation that has long since had its day!

    Japan needs young people who will look beyond its borders, not navel gazers. The Japanese government needs to consult with international experts in the field, and focus on real reform, instead of trying to use the education system to push its own nationalistic agenda. That is not education, that is political brainwashing!

    The time for the Japanese government to really lead in this area is long overdue. It is to Japan’s shame, as a technologically advanced nation, that even poorer, developing countries are now outstripping Japan, in terms of the quality of education they can offer. This trend seems set to continue for as long as the Japanese government trumpets the ideals of the past, and prevaricates and pontificates about what is really needed in schools and universities here, without actually implementing the modernization that is so badly needed.

    The government would do well to study and adopt what has proven successful elsewhere in the world today (eg Finland and New Zealand). There should also be a willingness to listen and make use of the knowledge and skills of progressive educators within Japan, both Japanese and foreigners who work here and understand the Japanese context well. They have been calling, unheeded, for reform, for far too long.

    Let’s look forward, not back to the ideals of the past. Only then will Japan begin to produce the kind of citizens it really needs, to meet the demands of the 21st century and beyond.

  • Alex R

    Patriotism is beautiful. It instills pride in one’s environment, encourages conservationism and promotes the proper thought process for a future generation. I only hope Abe has the same definition of patriotism as I do.

  • Albeckles

    When the leadership of a nation lies,falsifies facts and miseducates its citizenry,it falsifies the consciousness of the people. By so doing, it often recruits the people into its criminality,is anyone surprised then, at the exponentially rabbid nationalism in China,S.Korea, N.Korea and Russia ? Somehow, we’re to believe ,they are the only ones who happen to be ” Brainwashed”.