Friday, December 15, 2006
A One-Two Punch?
It's probably only coincidence. It's gotta be coincidence. Surely it's only coincidence, right?
Japan's new government, sort of like "Canada's new goverment" has taken a certain hard turn to the right, toward nationalism, not like the old kind that brought us all together sixty years ago but in the same direction.
Part of this effort has been to upgrade Japan's self-defence force from a department into a full-blown ministry. That was done today.
Slipped in alongside the military's upgrade was legislation requiring Japanese schools to boost students' patriotism.
"The new education law will allow children to acquire a good understanding of their heritage and become intelligent and dignified Japanese,'' ruling party lawmaker Hiroo Nakashima said during the upper house debate.
"Critics, however, attacked the move as harkening back to Japan's war-era education system, in which children were instructed to support the country's imperialist military and sacrifice themselves for the emperor and nation.
"The government is putting the future of Japanese children at risk and turning Japan into a country that wages war abroad,'' said Ikuko Ishii, a Communist Party lawmaker.
"The upgrading of the Defense Agency under the Cabinet Office to a full ministry passed Parliament without significant opposition, propelled by deep concern in Japan over North Korean missile and nuclear weapons development.
"The upgrade, to be effected early next year, gives Japan's generals greater budgetary powers and prestige - a reversal for a military establishment that has kept a low profile since being discredited by Japan's disastrous wartime defeat.
The call for more patriotism in the schools coincides with a push by some local governments to crack down on teachers and students who refuse to stand for the national flag or sing an anthem to the emperor at school ceremonies.