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31 Comp. Lab. L. & Pol'y J. 441 (2009-2010)
Conscientious Objection in Japan

handle is hein.journals/cllpj31 and id is 449 raw text is: CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION IN JAPAN
Tadashi Hanamit
After the Second World War, Japan's national flag (Hinomaru,
meaning rising sun) and national anthem (Kimigayo) have been
two of the most controversial issues in Japanese politics. Leftist
groups have attacked both as symbols of the militarism that resulted
in the invasion of Japan during the war. Throughout the entire history
of post-war Japan, such groups have taken advantage of every
opportunity to protest singing the anthem or paying respect to the
The Japan Teachers Union, which organizes public school
teachers, once was dominated by the Japan Communist Party and, as
it has been for a long time and continues today, is still heavily
influenced by leftist ideology. The union has been organizing protests
at school events such as entrance, graduation, and other ceremonies
and union members have further refused to pay respect to the flag or
sing the national anthem.
The legal battle arising from these controversial issues started in
1986 when a citizens' group sued the Kyoto City Board of Education
seeking an injunction preventing the city from taking administrative
action forcing schools to sing the national anthem at school events. In
its decision of November 4, 1992, the Kyoto District Court rejected
the suit ruling that the Court will refrain from determining whether
the city's action is unconstitutional, based on its reasoning that the
national anthem did not clearly defame or slander the spirit of the
Constitution. The Kyoto District Court's decision was subsequently
affirmed by the Osaka High Court (January 25, 1996) and the
Supreme Court (January 19, 1999).
Even after the aforementioned Supreme Court decision, the
teachers' groups continued their attacks against Kimigayo and the
Hinomaru in spite of any unsuccessful efforts at the courts. The
t Professor Emeritus, Sophia University; Of Counsel, Matsuo & Kosugi, Japan.

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