HIROSHIMA -- The Hiroshima Prefectural Board of Education and the Hiroshima Municipal Board of Education turned down a request to support a talk event featuring former Education Ministry bureaucrat Kihei Maekawa in September, it was learned July 4.
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The talk is organized by a nonprofit alternative educational program, "Ki no Nekko," based in the Hiroshima Prefecture city of Hatsukaichi, among others, and a request was filed in late May for backing from the Hiroshima prefectural, Hiroshima municipal and Hatsukaichi municipal boards of education for the event.
According to the Ki no Nekko website, the event, slated for Sept. 30, is set to be a discussion between Maekawa and a board member of Tokyo-based nonprofit group "Free school zenkoku network" (national free school network), among others, about school absenteeism, teaching the Constitution and ethics education.
The prefectural board of education stated that Maekawa stood out as someone who has criticized the government, and that there was a great possibility that he would do the same at the upcoming event. The board refused to promote the event on June 15, saying that based on discussions among senior board of education officials, "the event does not adhere to internal criteria stating that board-backed events shall not support specific religions or political parties."
The Hiroshima Municipal Board of Education cited the possibility that Maekawa's talk would create problems in the promotion of educational administration. It refused to support the event on July 3, stating, "A number of municipal governments have been split on whether or not to support Mr. Maekawa's lectures, and we cannot proactively back this event."
Meanwhile, the Hatsukaichi Municipal Board of Education decided it would support the talk, determining that the purpose of the event was appropriate, as it was to promote lifelong study.
In April, the Shimonoseki Municipal Board of Education in Yamaguchi Prefecture refused to provide backing to a lecture by Maekawa, while the Kitakyushu Municipal Board of Education in Fukuoka Prefecture chose to promote a different talk by Maekawa.
(Japanese original by Azusa Takayama and Itsuo Tokubo, Hiroshima Bureau)