2008/7/29

国連人権「民の声」レポート英文  W板橋高校卒業式
 ★ 国連人権理事会へ「民の声」レポート(英文)
 Criminal Punishment for objection to forced singing of the national anthem Kimigayo at Itabashi High School Graduation Ceremony

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「雨竜沼湿原」 《撮影:佐久間市太郎(北海道白糠定、札幌南定、数学科教員)》

[ Summarized facts ] ( Outline of the case )


 A criminal punishment was imposed on an ex-teacher for having expressed his opinion against forced singing of the national anthem Kimigayo at a public high school in Tokyo.
 On Oct.23, 2003, Tokyo Board of Education issued the Directive (called "10.23 Directive") which stipulates that "all teachers and staff at public schools in Tokyo should stand up towards the national flag Hinomaru and sing Kimigayao on school events such as graduation or entrance ceremony, and those who fail to do so shall be punished.


" The directive was a vivid reminder of Japan's pre-war nationalism and totalitarianism, and it brought about much criticism and opposition from the general public as well as from the teachers. The whole issue has become a great controversy.

 On March 11, 2004, Mr. Katsuhisa Fujita, an ex-teacher who had retired 2 years before, was at Tokyo Metropolitan Itabashi High School to attend the graduation ceremony as one of the guests. About 20 minutes before the beginning of the ceremony, he handed out a copy of a weekly magazine article which criticized the "10.23 Directive" to the parents who had been waiting in the gym for the students to enter. Then he spoke to them, explaining that forcing the teachers to stand up and sing Kimigayo was a serious problem since it violates freedom of thought and conscience, and asked for their understanding and co-operation, if they could, to remain seated during the singing.

 Mr. Fujita was soon ordered by the principal to leave, and he did leave the school before the ceremony began. The incident had no adverse effects on the ceremony. In fact, the ceremony was a great success and everyone at present said it was one of the most moving ceremonies ever held by the school. Two things were especially noteworthy. First, about 90 percent of the graduating students remained seated during the Kimigayo singing in spite of the calls to stand up and sing it by the principal and a Tokyo Assembly member who was there as one of the guests. Secondly, at the end of the ceremony, all the students sang in chorus "A Song for Departure" to piano accompaniment by a girl student who had overcome the difficulties of total blindness. The chorus was the students' own idea and they received a loud applause.

 Mr. Fujita, however, was charged by the police with a crime for "obstructing business by force" 15 days later.

[ The point at issue ]

 It is quite unusual to apply such a penalty as "obstructing business by force" to the mild speech given without any force. What lies behind is the policy strongly promoted by Tokyo Education Board to force worship of Hinomaru and Kimigayo at public schools. Shocked by the fact that most students had remained seated at the graduation ceremony even after the issuance of the10.23 Directive, they decided from the beginning that it was not the result of the students' free will but of someone else's instigation. They tried to find who had instigated it, but in vain. Then, they filed a complaint with the police, setting Mr. Fujita up as a target.

 Tokyo Board of Education has been attempting to realize their "political aim" by punishing those who object to forced worship of Hinomaru and Kimigayo, threatening teachers with a penalty for disobeying an order of duty, and ordinary citizens like Mr. Fujita with a criminal indictment.

 The criminal court in charge of Mr. Fujita's case paid no attention to the constitutional significance or protection of his right to free speech, but acknowledged the trifle inconvenience which "the school administrators were unexpectedly obliged to deal with". He was found guilty of "obstructing business by force", and was fined 200,000 yen despite the fact that his speech to the parents was made in a peaceful manner, and without any "anti-social or unlawful" element involved in its content.

 This ruling clearly suggests that the Criminal Law is given a greater importance than the Constitution, the administrative power taking priority over human rights. If Mr. Fujita's speech hadn't been about Hinomaru and Kimigayo, it would have been no problem at all. The case has been made up into a crime. It is now appealed to the Supreme Court.

[Violation of Articles 18 and 19 of the Covenant ]

 The Constitution of Japan stipulates "Freedom of thought and conscience shall not be violated" (Article 19), and that "Freedoms of assembly and association as well as speech, press and all other forms of expression are guaranteed" (Article 21).

 Japan ratified the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which prescribes "freedom of thought, conscience and religion" in Article 18, and "freedom of expression" in Article 19. However, the administrative authorities of Japan ignored these ideals for human rights, and took the advantage of the criminal law in order to suppress an ideological and political speech. Japan is clearly in violation of ICCPR when it punishes the ex-teacher for his call from conscience, thus putting the democratic society in jeopardy.

 We sincerely hope Human Rights Committee will give this case a careful and impartial consideration.
タグ: 板橋高校

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