Opinion Paper on Bill to Revise Fundamental Law of Education
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) made its recommendations requesting the establishment of a research committee on the Fundamental Law of Education within the Diet on February 3, 2006, and a statement requesting careful consideration on submission of a bill to amend the Fundamental Law of Education on April 25. However, the government submitted the bill to the Diet on April 28. The bill was deliberated in a special committee on the Fundamental Education Law in the House of Representatives and was carried over to the next session. The government reportedly will place highest priority on the enactment of the bill during the next extraordinary session to be convened on September 26.
However, the bill contains constitutional problems as follows; the bill lacks the critical part to form the constitutional monarchy which the current Fundamental Law of Education includes, looses the role of Article 10 of the current Fundamental Law of Education which prevents the power of the state from intervening in educational content, and increases the possibility of violation of the spiritual freedom guaranteed by the Constitution since the virtues stipulated as educational objectives by Article 2 of the bill might be determined uniformly by the state or local governments.
The JFBA compiled its opinions at the meeting of the Board of Governors held on September 15, 2006, and sent this opinion paper to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the House of Councillors, the Chairman of the Committee on Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of the House of Representatives, the Chairman of the Special Committee on the Fundamental Education Law of the House of Representatives, and the Chairman of the Committee on Education, Culture and Science of the House of Councillors.
This opinion paper again requests to establish research committees on the Fundamental Law of Education within both the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors to research and debate with sufficiency and deliberation the issues including whether the Fundamental Law of Education needs to be revised or not. It also expresses strong opposition to the amendment of the Fundamental Law of Education as it has been currently proposed.
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
September 15, 2006