Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tokyo Teachers Sit For Peace at Graduation Ceremonies

A quick report from Tokyo -

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Monday, March 24, 2008

One hundred people did support Ms. Nezu in rainy morning.

The graduation ceremony of Minamiosawa Gkauen School, and the press conference in TMG.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The agenda of the BCTF annual general meeting that was reported with the Vancouver Sun on March 17, 2008.

Please click either image to expand.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Opinion Ad

We've run the attached opinion ad in morning edition of the Yomiuri distributed Tokyo local on March 18th.


Monday, March 10, 2008

A Whole-Day Protest in front of the TMG.

The reports with photograph in Japanese is here.


Coallition Against Militarism in our Schools

Sisters and brothers in Japan, we are so honored to be with you in your fierce struggle as you oppose the symbols of militarism -Hinomaru and Kimigayo. You have not only endured attacks to your persons but have organized and mobilized the working people to speak out against the silencing of your freedom of conscience. You have taken your responsibility as teachers and models for your students seriously. We deeply appreciate you and all the students, teachers and working people who have joined you in this movement of resistance. The Japanese Teachers Union slogan "never send our students to war again" has taken on a new meaning for all of us. We thank you.

You have brought your struggles across the Pacific Ocean and touched our souls. Teachers and the working class in the United States applaud you in your courage and join you in spirit. We too, are opposing the militarism in our country, in our schools, in our budget- that influences every aspect of life in America. We are angry that 50,000 US troops are deployed around the islands of Japan, particularly in Okinawa where you are affected by the US military in every way-including crime, pollution, depleted uranium, rapes and the psychological and economical impact of these military bases on your land.

The movement for peace and justice in our world needs your voice to be strong and stand firm as you approach the March graduation ceremonies. You have chosen the hard way, but the way of peace and justice will prevail. As you mobilize in these actions, know that you are an inspiration to all of us. Gambatte!

In solidarity,
Arlene Inouye

Coalition Against Militarism in our Schools (CAMS)
United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA)


The comments of On-line Petition

We would like to publish the comments of on-line petition as follows:

As an academic, educationist and author of school textbooks, I thoroughly support the Committee Stop Firing Nezu

Let's struggle together for the independence of teachers and free thinkers

That's incredible, i've forwarded to all organizations i belong to ! Anarchosyndicalists greetings !

Neo-nationalists and their conservative friends should think about the only way to promote the identity of the japanese nation is to educate their children properly, and this cannot be done without the knowledge that their nation, as any other, made mistakes in the past. Those mistakes cannot be forgiven with denial, but with acceptation and apologies, which should never be considered as a shame. May Ms Nezu, Ms Kawarai and the other teachers succeed !

Stop Firing of Nezu, Kawarai and Other Teachers

Un message de sympathie pour ces enseignants qui ont le courage de dire ce que beaucoup n'osent plus exprimer

only education can deliver us from all the violences, and this is its first role

Hold on! I hope you will win in the end!

I have slightly different interpretation on Hinomaru and Kimigayo from one shown above. However, I believe it is IMPORTANT to support people who is acing on their own belief. Also it is something 'un-nutural' that Board of Education holds such a power against individuals' thought and faith with ignoring the ruling of the Tokyo District Court.

Educational Institutions are neither platforms to foster nationalism nor to merely train workers. They are privileged places in and through which critical thought can exist and subsist. This is undoubteldy of benefit to any society. Why make schools into places in which people are forced to learn to stop thinking.

I support Ms. Kawarai and Ms. Nezu in their right of independent conscience and refusal of compulsory patriotism. They provide an important example for the teaching profession internationally. Prof. Joe Lockard English Department Arizona State University

I ask you to reconsider these harsh measures against people of good conscience.

Those who resist natilonalism should be applauded for their courage rather than punished. The disciplinary actions taken by the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education severely compromise the democratic ideals which should principally inform and be nurtured by educational institutions.

Academic freedom for ever.

Please stop this dismissal or any other punishment against education workers!

Please reconsider the decisions you have made about Ms Nezu and Ms Kawarai. In Canada, we consider that your requirements are not justified for a democratic society. In Canada, teachers are not required to praise the flag ir the national anthem.

Lest you may have forgotten these words of wisdom, let me refresh your memory. We, the Japanese people, acting through our duly elected representatives in the National Diet, determined that we shall secure for ourselves and our posterity the fruits of peaceful cooperation with all nations and the blessings of liberty throughout this land, and resolved that never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government, do proclaim that sovereign power resides with the people and do firmly establish this Constitution. Government is a sacred trust of the people, the authority for which is derived from the people, the powers of which are exercised by the representatives of the people, and the benefits of which are enjoyed by the people. This is a universal principle of mankind upon which this Constitution is founded. We reject and revoke all constitutions, laws ordinances, and rescripts in conflict herewith. We, the Japanese people, desire peace for all time and are deeply conscious of the high ideals controlling human relationship and we have determined to preserve our security and existence, trusting in the justice and faith of the peace-loving peoples of the world. We desire to occupy an honored place in an international society striving for the preservation of peace, and the banishment of tyranny and slavery, oppression and intolerance for all time from the earth. We recognize that all peoples of the world have the right to live in peace, free from fear and want. We believe that no nation is responsible to itself alone, but that laws of political morality are universal; and that obedience to such laws is incumbent upon all nations who would sustain their own sovereignty and justify their sovereign relationship with other nations. We, the Japanese people, pledge our national honor to accomplish these high ideals and purposes with all our resources.

Ms Nezu is the best teacher you could have for your students. Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education: You should be enlightening minds, not depressing them. Board of Ed., shame on you. -Larry Duncan co-producer Labor Beat cable tv show, Chicago

Hello: I am a teacher in a lower class public big city school. I agree that discipline and standards are very important for students and teachers. However, I do not agree that teachers should give up freedom of choice to stand up and sing they do not wish too. Thank-you for considering this request.

Keep Peace! No Stupid Rule Is Needed. Hinamaru Flag Is Only A Tiny Simbol Kimigayo Is Only A Sleepy Song Everyboby Can Be Free From Foolish Custom

I support the freedom of thought and conscience.

This is very disturbing especially in a modern democratic society as advanced socially and economically as Japan. The Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education should be held liable for the consequences for the harm done to the teachers and students.

Academic freedom is a cherished value of teachers and students in the United States. True education cannot exist when teachers and students do not have the freedom to act according to their principles. Good luck to educators and students in Japan and across the world who remain true to their ideals.

i agree with my colleagues--as teachers we must stand for freedom of thought and work towards a peaceable world.

Stand up for democracy and let people live their beliefs - this is most important if they differ from the the government!

These teachers deserve to be honoured for their stance against war and militarism and their advocacy for building a better and more peaceful world for future generations - not penalized! Shame on the Japanese Government for its treatment of these wonderful role models for our children!

Please respect the rights of Sister Nezu and the other teachers to follow their consciences.

I stand in solidarity with the teachers of Japan who are exercising their conscience by refusing to stand for the Hinormaru and Kimigayo.

Good luck to the brave professors.

No more thought control!

I lived in Japan for the last 20 years (until August 2007) and I became very alarmed at the increasing control of the government and the blatant suppression of dissent. People who are working actively to maintain democracy and freedom of speech in Japan should be supported by all freedom-lovers throughout the world. You are fighting our fight too! Ganbatte kudasai.

Please keep Nezu, Kawarai and employed. It is important for our children to get an education that includes compassion and understanding. I believe Nezu, Kawarai and other teachers should NOT be punished for not singing Kimigayo. If people want to sing this, they should be able to. If they don't want to, it should be their right not to. Allow teachers to teach our children tolerance and compassion. Best to you and yours,

The degree of freedom of thought and freedom from coercion allowed in education is one indication of the extent to which a society can be called a democracy.

I support Ms. Nezu and Mr. Kawai.

Please protect human rights.

This is an absolutely terrible thing to happen in Japan. Every individual has a right to choose if she/he wants to sing the national anthem or not. Japanese anthem, unlike those in many other countries, has a specific historic reason which makes many people uncomfortable to sing. How can we claim our country as one of the most democratic countries in Asia while the violation of its own constitution is going on. I feel very ashamed.

A Nation should change the anthem to suit current sentiment e.g. as Australia has done. Sensitivity to history, the peoples' mood,and diplomacy, are all considerations which suggest a change in the Japanese National Anthem. Furthermore punative actions demonstrate that democracy in Japan is immature and may cause lowered international standing amongst most developed nations.

I support Nezu, Kawarai and Other Teachers in their quest.

Good for these ladies for speaking out and remaining true to what is in their hearts. They are the embodiment of principles such as “freedom" and "democracy"--may they receive honor and respect rather than punishment!

Please honor the right of Ms. Nezu and other teachers to follow their conscience regarding the flag and national anthem.

I sign the petition of the Committee for Stop Firing of Nezu, Kawarai and Other Teachers. I am a french writer and I support the action of Ms NEZU Kimiko and Ms KAWARAI Junko. I support their fight to preserve constitutional, civil and human rights and absolute freedom to teach without standing up and singing Kimigayo. This is not a good for a democracy to fire and to persecute teachers for a flag or a national anthem, on political or religious bases : "glorification of the Emperor: "May His Majesty's reign continue for a thousand\ eight thousand generations" !! The imperial war is over and japan is not Chile isn't it ? Make free teachers means to make free new generations... Thank you

In international solidarity.

As a teacher and pacifist, I strongly support teachers Nezu and Kawarai and their colleagues who refuse to stand and sing Kimigayo. To help create a peaceful world, we must teach young people across the globe to examine and question the actions and beliefs of their governments.

Geetings and solidarity from the National Union of Teachers in Westminster. We admire your courage in resisting pressure to glorify imperial and war-like singing which aims to stir up divisions among people - and to indoctrinate children.

I would like to support the teachers.They should not be fired and they should return to work with full rights.The teachers brave stand is a shining light on injustice and bullying, by the board of education.You are making a stand for all teacher,children,and nationals who live,work and study schools.

Forcing people to stand for a national flag and anthem does not make them love their nation more. It has the opposite effect.

The mark of a civilised country is that it does not punish citizens for expressing views contrary to those of the government. I hope that penalties, imposed on teachers for staying seated while the Kimigayo was sung, will be withdrawn and that in future all Japanese will be allowed to express their views in such peaceful ways,

I have fond memories of living in Japan, and fond memories of the progressive Japanese teachers that I studied with in Canada. I learned so much from them, including the fight against standing up for the national anthem.
I applaud and supprt Nezu-sensei and Kawarai-sensei's brave struggle for peace. In addition, I am shocked by the official response. This is 2008, not 1938!
HOW can you punish them? Only a dictatorship punishes people for their peaceful political protests.
What are you teaching children, that patriotic obedience can be forced?
You cannot push a chain.
Do not embarass yourselves in the eyes of the world.
Please, respect free choice and a healthy discussion about nationalism, peace and history.

Kimigayo and the flag, Hinomaru, are symbols of Japan's wartime imperialism and militarism and thus should not be legislated as Japan's national anthem and national flag at all unless Japan is determined to maintain its imperial and militaristic ideology.

It'd be such a shame if any individual was going to be taken away freedom of expression. It is our right that no one should control.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Opinion Ad

We've run the attached opinion ad in morning edition of the Asahi distributed nationally on March 2.

"What? Be fired, when not singing!? When you feel joyful, happy or sad, you sing a song from the heart. How can it be, it's coerced to sing, not only that, you be fired if you refuse to sing?"