• Kyodo

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A private high school in the city of Kochi will launch a course in the 2016 academic year to foster personnel for the Self-Defense Forces, school officials said.

Kochi Chuo High School’s “SDF course” will provide training in the martial art of jukendo and classroom lectures on the SDF and international affairs for six hours a week, according to Masahisa Chikamori, chairman of the school’s board of directors.

An Education Ministry official said he has never heard of a course like this being offered at a high school. A Defense Ministry official expressed surprise, saying the ministry was also unaware of it.

Chikamori said the school is creating the course to meet potential demand, since about 100 people in the prefecture annually enlist in the SDF or enroll in the National Defense Academy.

“We hope to cultivate human resources who are well trained mentally and physically and will fulfill the duties of defending Japan with loyalty,” he said.

The school plans to invite active and former SDF members to give lectures, and to help third-year students prepare for the SDF recruitment exams.

The local SDF headquarters in Kochi said it will cooperate with the school by sending personnel to give lectures when requested.

The school, which opened in 1963, has general and nursing divisions.

The general division accepts about 160 students a year for six academic tracks, including university entrance, business, sports and entertainment. The SDF course will be the seventh, and will also train students hoping to join the police or become firefighters.

The Kochi Prefectural Government said a school does not have to file an application to create a course within an existing department.

The school’s website says it primarily aims to foster able professionals who have knowledge, morals and skills.

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