• Ogata-mura, Akita


Although Prime Minister Shinzo Abe talks about building a “beautiful country,” he seems intent on making the country appear so without actual change. Recently Abe’s education advisory committee recommended compulsory “volunteer work” for all high school students. According to my dictionary, a “volunteer” is a person who performs a service of his own free will. If it is not the student’s own conscience that draws him/her to volunteer work, then it should be called something else. Can’t we at least call forced activities of this sort what they are — “social trainee activities” or “practical citizen mind-set training”? Such activities may be very important to the school curriculum in developing considerate citizens, but they’re not about volunteering.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.