Looking at the photo of students practicing voting in Hino, Shiga Prefecture, on the front page of the June 19 edition, I felt rage and despair as a Japanese. They are 18-year-old high school students, not pupils of an elementary school.

Do their teachers think this practice is worth the name of politics education? If so, they underestimate their students. Instead of teaching what democracy is and how to defend it, the teachers are satisfied with giving a class in mock voting.

I spent high school in the latter half of the 1960s, when many university and high school students took part in the movement opposing the Japan-U.S. security pact. Then the government banned high school students from joining political activities.

Around 1975 the Communist Party won a lot of seats in the Diet. Judging that their good result was due to the various kinds of handbills that they gave out, the government started restricting fliers.

Now the Election Control Commission calls to us to go voting but gives us little opportunity to know about candidates. The government does not want to “foster responsible citizenship” and the teachers in Hino follow the government.

Hideko Ideguchi

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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