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Japan religious leaders demand retraction of minister’s comment on “Imperial Rescript on Education”

Japan religious leaders demand retraction of minister’s comment on “Imperial Rescript on Education”

Photo: NCC Japan

29 October 2018

The National Christian Council (NCC) in Japan and other faith-based groups in the nation have issued a joint statement regarding comments from  Masahiko Shibayama, minister of education and science, about the “Imperial Rescript of Education.”

The statement demands that Shibayama retract his comment and also calls for his resignation.

Sungjae Kim, general secretary of the NCC in Japan, explained that Shibayama, in comments to the press, said that “The Imperial Rescript of Education can be used as a material of education at Japanese schools with some arrangement.”

His description surprised the press, Kim said. “That text was abolished in 1948 under the new pacifist constitution as very dangerous imperial order to justify sacrificing lives of people as subjects of emperor in wars,” Kim said. “The Imperial Rescript of Education played the role of the so-called ‘Bible’ for the state Shintoism.”

Based upon that Imperial Rescript, Kim continued, Japan’s wars caused casualties of more 3.1 million Asians.

The joint statement, entitled “Let us protect the life of children!” was issued 18 October.

The statement asks, among other questions: “Where in the Imperial Rescript on Education is there reference to international collaboration? Has Minister Shibayama, who attributes to the Imperial Rescript on Education ideas that are not in it, read the Rescript?”

The statement decries the Rescript’s inhumane instruction to children to offer themselves courageously to the state should the need arise.

“We religious persons will not allow resurrection of the Imperial Rescript on Education, which promoted the loathsome wars of invasion before the great war, and will continue to pray and act across denominational and religious lines, so that the lives of children and all life can be protected,” the statement reads.