OSAKA – The Osaka Prefectural Board of Education revealed Thursday that it extracted some of the content of online English teaching materials for junior high school students after determining it was forcing political views on young readers by using the name of Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto.
The board said the objectionable content, which mentions Hashimoto’s work and activities, was posted online and aimed at first-year junior high school students.
The board said the content “lacks political neutrality.”
“My name is Toru Hashimoto,” reads the first sentence, which was aimed at introducing the third person singular present tense form for verbs.
Students were asked to rewrite the sentences using the name of Toru Hashimoto as the subject of each sentence.
The board admitted that the sentence “I work hard for people in Osaka,” which followed the one introducing Hashimoto, could be regarded as evaluating his work.
According to the Osaka Prefectural Board of Education, the materials were compiled by former members of the board who were appointed by Hashimoto when he was governor of Osaka Prefecture from 2008 through 2010.
The board said it received a phone call regarding the content on Tuesday.
The board apologized for failing to notice the content, indicating it was an inappropriate way of educating children about politics.
The board officials said they are considering correcting the phrases in question by replacing the sentence with similar ones without proper names.
At a news conference held at City Hall on Thursday, Hashimoto told reporters he had no idea his name had been used in the material and backed the board’s opinion that such an act was politically incorrect.