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July 03, 2009

Saitama Governor says teachers who dislike the national anthem and flag should quit

japa_flag.jpgMany teachers over the years have refused to stand up and sing the national anthem and have been opposed to the raising of the hinomaru (national flag) during school ceremonies. Kiyoshi Ueda, the Governor of Saitama, has now told the prefectural assembly that these teachers should quit. He also said that 'those who do not love their own country will not be respected in other countries.'

Many teachers view the flag and anthem as symbols of Japan's militaristic past. Germany adopted new symbols after World War II but Japan's national symbols largely remained the same. There have been numerous court cases over this issue since the government adopted a strict policy of requiring the flag to be raised and the anthem sung at school ceremonies twenty years ago. In a famous case in 2006 the presiding judge stated in his verdict that 'it is an undeniable historical fact that the Hinomaru and Kimigayo were the spiritual props of Imperialism and militarism from the Meiji Era (1868-1912) until the end of World War II.'

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