Statement on Subject High Schools of the Free Tuition Bill
A bill to waive tuition for students at public high schools and to provide subsidies to private high school students, the so-called “Free High School Tuition Bill,” was submitted this Diet session and the government is considering whether or not North Korean schools should be covered under this bill because Japan is imposing sanctions on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
However, the main purpose of this bill is to contribute to the creation of equal educational opportunities by alleviating the financial burdens of high school education. Educational opportunities should not be affected by political or diplomatic matters and should be guaranteed for children studying at North Korean schools as well.
In addition, there is reportedly an opinion that the curricula of North Korean schools are unable to be confirmed. However, it is easy to research their curricula as related information was submitted when they applied for accreditation as miscellaneous schools and also the curricula are available on the school websites. It should be noted that most universities actually have granted entrance qualifications to graduates of North Korean schools.
If this bill excludes students of North Korean schools, and unfairly treats them in a different way from those at high schools, specialized training schools, international schools, and Chinese schools, it would violate the right to secondary education and the right to ethnic education based on equality under the law guaranteed by Article 14 of the Constitution of Japan. Furthermore, it is discrimination prohibited by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and no reason can justify this discrimination.
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations strongly urges that North Korean schools not be unfairly excluded from the application of the Free High School Tuition Bill.
March 5, 2010
Japan Federation of Bar Associations