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Osaka probing kindergarten where pupils were made to cheer for PM Abe

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is seen at a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting on Feb. 27, 2017, as an opposition lawmaker raises questions about a controversial Osaka kindergarten. (Mainichi)

The Osaka Prefectural Government has embarked on an investigation into a kindergarten whose operator is at the center of a controversy over its nationalistic teachings and a sketchy land sale.

At a Feb. 27 House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting, video taken of a sports event at Tsukamoto Kindergarten in the Osaka Prefecture city of Toyonaka, operated by Moritomo Gakuen, showed students saying, "Go for it, Prime Minister Abe!"

According to the Osaka Prefectural Government's private school section, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) requested that the Osaka Prefectural Government look into whether the kindergarten deviated from its responsibility of maintaining political neutrality in the education it provides, following the revelations at the Budget Committee meeting.

In response, the Osaka Prefectural Government contacted Tsukamoto Kindergarten the same day, and instructed the institution to report back on the kindergarten's standpoint and the education it provides to its students.

If it is confirmed that the kindergarten violated the Basic Act on Education, which bans political education that supports or opposes specific political parties, the institution will be advised to rectify the situation.

"I will advise the kindergarten to provide education that does not mislead people to think that its teachings are linked to politics," Osaka Gov. Ichiro Matsui told reporters Feb. 28.

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