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Central Japan high schools delete rules on student underwear color

The Gifu Prefectural Government building (Mainichi/Hiroki Sameshima)

GIFU -- Public high schools in the central Japan prefecture of Gifu have revised regulations that included stipulations such as the acceptable color of students' underwear after a local citizens group criticized that they "violated the human rights of the students."

The move came after a children's human rights monitor in the prefecture headed by lawyer Yoshifusa Kawai requested the prefectural board of education in July last year to review some of the regulations at prefectural high schools.

The group demanded schools delete articles in school regulations on the acceptable color of student underwear and on stipulations about students having to get permission from their school to travel or spend a night outside their home, or to join communities or an assembly outside school or to engage in political activities, among other rules.

Two months later, the education board requested each prefectural school to review their regulations, specifying these articles pointed out by the group. The board checked with the schools in May this year on the progress of the regulation revisions through a survey on student guidance and says those schools that had rules deemed as problematic have mostly taken measures to accommodate the board's request, including deleting the articles from their school regulations.

While the human rights group says it approves of the move taken by the schools, it also points out that there are some articles that have not been reviewed and says it will continue to have discussions with the education board over the matter. Furthermore, as the group believes that there are similar regulations at elementary and junior high schools, it will start talks with the Gifu Municipal Board of Education, which has jurisdiction over public elementary and junior high schools, to ask them to revise these rules.

(Japanese original by Masakatsu Oka, Gifu Bureau)

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