To all teachers and staff.
“Don’t ever send students to the battlefields again.” Education after the war began with this pledge.
Today, when the Constitution of Japan has been in force for 70 years, the current situation is getting more serious.
Workplaces have become so busy that it is more difficult to respond to children closely. Teachers and staff should express their views and feelings heart to heart to achieve a consensus on various things, but this is being blocked and it is becoming more difficult for them to express their concerns and doubts with ease. Their wishes to discuss matters and support each other aren’t satisfied, and it is all they can do merely to protect themselves, body and soul.
One school was planned in order to nurture children with patriotism based on the old imperial style of education. The Osaka prefectural government granted its permission for the school, and the Finance Ministry allowed it to buy land at a steep discount.
While one school after another that has carried out good educational activities based on the philosophy of the Constitution has been closed and the education budget is being reduced year by year, one school, which teaches children how to abandon their lives for the state, receives “exceptional” support. We can’t stand for any more nonsense.
In 2016, “Post truth” became a phrase symbolizing the era. This phenomenon, in which not truth itself but rather “fake truth” appeals to people’s feelings and forms public opinion, is spreading worldwide. The other day, the Cabinet took the unprecedented step of notifying school authorities about North Korea’s intention to launch a missile. It is obvious that this “notice” was a message encouraging citizens to believe that North Korean missile attacks are imminent, and it fueled anxiety and fear, while disguising itself as “a call for safety”. The present regime can’t control itself since new national security legislation was passed the year before last, and now we are even entering a new phase with the so-called “conspiracy bill”, which is a revival of the Security Maintenance Act. A war-capable nation is being constructed steadily and surely.
Schools should not be institutions that make the children believe in falsehoods and implant anxiety and fear in their minds. They should teach children that they can overcome difficulties with other countries by peaceful means and can avoid futile wars if they have reason and intellect. These should be nourished and promoted in schools and classrooms.
In December in 2016, when young teachers and staff visited Okinawa, they met Okinawans protesting against the US military bases there, and learned astonishing facts which opened their ears and eyes. One of them said, “We listened to Okinawans with tearful eyes.” Another said, “What they said astonished me, and I was ashamed of my ignorance about Okinawa.” Yet another said, “I make it a rule not to talk about political and social problems, because I regard myself as short of knowledge and political consciousness. But I want to tell as many people as possible about what I experienced in Okinawa, because if I keep silent, other people don’t have the chance to hear of the reality in Okinawa.”
It must surely be a most unfortunate thing for the global future if teachers shake with fear, hesitate to talk with each other, and hide themselves from others while they work.
All over the world, a big drive to ban using nuclear weapons is trying to lay siege to the nine nations holding nukes. Everyone wants to live freely and in peace. This is a borderless concept and has no limit, whoever may try strongly to suppress it. We are not isolated beings. What is it that ruins the future of the children and averts our glances from real truth? Let’s think and talk together about this vital question.
Let’s continue to fight courageously against lying and deceit. Let’s face discrimination and segregation head on. Let’s campaign for sympathy and solidarity, not hatred and contempt.
“Don’t ever send students to the battlefields again.” Let’s inscribe this pledge in our hearts and walk together, hand in hand, with a common purpose.
May 20, 2017
The 88th Regular Rally of Osaka Prefectural Senior-High School Teachers and Staffs Union.