Thousands Demonstrate Against Forced Observance of National Flag and Anthem
Monday, November 8, 2004 Posted: 11:52 AM JST [SLIDE SHOW]
Some 5,000 teachers and supporters demonstrated against the forced observance of Japan's national flag and anthem during school ceremonies in Tokyo last Saturday. The demonstration appears to have received little attention on Japan's news programs, but the issue worries many.
During the past year more than 240 teachers have been punished by Tokyo authorities for not singing the national anthem and standing up during the raising of the national flag. The Tokyo Board of Education obligates all school personnel and students to observe the national flag and anthem during ceremonies, and threatens non-observers with penalties and eventual dismissal.
Teachers believe that they and their students should be allowed to decide on their own free will. They also see a reoccurrence of militarism in the edict, a believe enforced by Japan's deployment of troops in Iraq and calls for the rewriting of war-renouncing article 9 of Japan's constitution.
After more than 4 hours of speeches and appeals the 5,000 demonstrators marched to Nagata-cho, Tokyo's government district.
Keywords: national_news politics right photo_essay
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