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NGO Report to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Submitted by Japan NGO Coalition against Racial Discrimination Series No.4 The Circumstance of Korean Schools in Japan


3. The Circumstance of Korean Schools in Japan
(1) Relevant recommendations and statements of the Government report
- Paragraph 19 of the concluding observations (CERD/C/JPN/CO/7-9)
- Paragraphs 170~175 of the Government report (CERD/C/JPN/10-11)
(2) Main Points
(a) In Japan, Korean schools are treated no differently from any other school.
(b) In compliance with the Constitution, the Fundamental Law of Education and
other relevant laws, it is stipulated that every Japanese national shall be given
the opportunity to receive education on equal standing according to his/her
ability without any educational distinction. On this basis, the opportunity to
receive compulsory education is equally guaranteed to foreign residents in Japan
as well.
(c) The Committee recommendation requires the Japanese Government to use
public money in the form of subsidies to Korean schools. To realize this
recommendation, approval of relevant laws is required and it is also necessary
for Korean schools to satisfy a certain educational requirements.
(3) Background
The compulsory education system in Japan requires that every Japanese national
shall go to schools which satisfy a certain level of standard for a maximum nine years
before he/she reaches the age of fifteen, as regulated by the Constitution, the
Fundamental Law of Education and the School Education Act.
The Constitution of Japan stipulates in Article 89: No public money or other
property shall be expended or appropriated for the use, benefit or maintenance of
any religious institution or association, or any charitable, educational or benevolent
enterprises not under the control of public authority.
Korean schools are not qualified “schools” as defined above, and it is against the
Constitution, in fact illegal, to spend the public’s money on them. To receive public
funding, Korean schools are required to duly observe the Fundamental Law of
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Education, the School Education Act and other laws, to maintain a certain level of
education and to acquire relevant approval. These procedures are free from
discrimination or distinction owing to race, ethnicity or birth. In fact, schools like
Tokyo Korean School and Tokyo Chinese School or various international schools are
accredited in the same manner as regular private schools.
The Japanese education curriculum maintains a defined nationwide standard and,
to secure an equal educational opportunity for all, based on laws, decides the level,
the goal and what lessons, at a minimum, should be taught. However, Korean schools
do not satisfy the standard. The Japanese education system requires issues be
addressed, such as the forced abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea, which
is a grave infringement, from the families’ viewpoint, of human rights. Korean
schools do not follow this requirement. This, for example, is not a political issue, but
an educational one.
Moreover, the fact that the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan
disseminates speech and encourages behaviors that are totally alien to Japanese
taxpayers goes against the Government’s desire to spend the Japanese peoples’
money. The Koreans declare: “We will further strengthen our power to destroy
American and Japanese imperialists through education in Korean Universities,” and
“An operation is now under way to isolate and destroy America. Hold most revered
leader Kim Jong-un as our supreme dignity and rise to bring innovation in the
enterprise of our ethnic education.” Their claims, stated over and over again, are too
supercilious for any Japanese national to support (The Sankei Newspaper, dated
September 20, 2017). Their speech and behavior is more than political provocation.
If Korean schools can solve these problems, it is possible that that system will
spend the public’s money on them. Korean speech and behavior, which claims that
the Japanese Government discriminates against South and North Korean residents
in Japan, is not true. The opportunity to receive an education through public
assistance is given to any person, regardless of nationality–there is no racial
prejudice in our public education system.
The Japanese Government issued a notice regarding a point of attention in relation
to subsidizing Korean schools (as of March 29, 2016, in the name of the Minister of
Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology): “With regard to Korean schools,
our Government understands that General Association of Korean Residents in Japan,
which maintains close relationship with North Korea, makes much account of its
education and exerts influence over what to teach as well as personnel affairs and
financial matters.” This notice shows that the Japanese Government questions the
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way Korean schools, as tools of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan,
are being run.
As measures that apply not only to children and students of South and North
Korean residents but also to the children and students of other foreign residents, the
Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has issued
a notice: “In the light of progress in globalization and on the basis of growing demand
for teaching the Japanese language to Japanese children/students who have
returned home from abroad and to foreign children/students studying in our
compulsory education schools, from the viewpoint of furthering the education of the
Japanese language to those children/students in question, we will implement a
system in which instruction held in classes other than those of children/students in
question can be done through special curriculum.” At the level of local governments,
Japanese language instructors and supporters were allocated, and a new system was
established to accept foreign children/students, teaching them not only Japanese but
also the Japanese way of life and customs, in close coordination with relevant organs,
eliminating social barriers.
The procedure undertaken at the local government level to give out subsidies
raises suspicion. It is doubtful whether subsidies are actually received by the
guardians/children/students who eligible for subsidies. As an example, an incident
occurred in Kanagawa Prefecture. It was revealed that the prefectural government
gave a subsidy for the fiscal 2014 directly to children/students/guardians, but the
understratum organ of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan took
the money, going door-to-door and visiting each recipient. This is against the original
purpose and goal of the subsidy, of giving money to children/students/guardians who
needed the money–the General Association should be chided for wrongfully handling
public money. Whatever the purpose, fair and strict management should be required
in spending money collected from taxpayers. It should be pointed out that in this case,
public money was handled by a body that was neither responsible nor eligible for the
Lastly, there is one more fact that should be mentioned and that is that by policies
decided upon by North Korean authorities, “crimes against humanity” are being
committed, far and wide within the state, as clearly stated in the United Nations
investigative committee report, “On human rights in the Democratic People’s
Republic of Korea.” Their educational practice is based on a mythology that deifies
Kim Il-song and Kim Jong-il, masterminds of numerous crimes against humanity. As
a tool of the leadership, education in North Korea leaves much to be desired. Of
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course, it is up to the Koreans themselves to discuss and decide what form their
ethno-cultural education should be. But looking at the present human rights
situation in North Korea, the issue of education should be looked into with greater
(4) Conclusions and Recommendations
(a) In Japan there are many international and ethnic European and Asian schools and
ethnical education itself should not be denied. At present, there are Chinese and
Korean schools, which meet our educational standards.
(b) Teaching the Japanese language to foreign children/students is included in our
compulsory education, which is given free gratis by the Japanese Government and
local governments. All operating ethnic schools should be required to manage its
own finances.
(c) Public money should not be spent on Korean schools that cannot meet the
education standards that are required by the Japanese Ministry of Education,
Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.The Government should not offer underthe-
table financial assistance. Therefore, the Committee’s recommendation, that
“the Japanese Government should resume or maintain the provision of subsidies
to Korean schools,” must be promptly withdrawn.
Reported by “the Study Group for School Education”