Once declared incompatible with Japan's postwar transformation into a democracy, a 19th-century Imperial edict on patriotism is slowly making its way back into the nation's education. Spearheading its resurgence is none other than the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Last month, Abe's Cabinet approved an unprecedented statement declaring that the edict can be used as teaching material in schools, leaving the impression the government is endorsing the prewar document that, among other things, dictates unquestioning devotion to the Emperor.

"Use of the Imperial Rescript on Education as teaching material cannot be denied," as long as its usage does not violate the Constitution and the Fundamental Law of Education, the Cabinet said in a statement on March 31.