Friday, September 09, 2005

We can't say much...

Japan's laws require that Japanese teachers be politically neutral. And that makes it diffucult for me to make some comments about the coming election. If I write anyting advantageous to a certain political party, I might be arrested (I'm not joking at all!) I might be arrested, too, if I criticize someone like, say, PM Koizumi.

My students don't know which party I support, because I don't tell it to them. To say it is also prohibited. So, even if I want to tell my students about political problems which now exist, I must do so without criticizing the present dominant party, which I find very difficult.

Actually, teachers avoid picking out political issues in their classes, and it has made Japanese kids less and less interested in politics. They are not given many opportunities in which they have to think deeply about political issues.

PM Koizumi is very successful in trying to persuade Japanese people. He uses very simple phrases, such as "This election is asking you whether you agree or disagree to the privatization of the post offices. That is the only point. To vote for us means that you agree, and to vote for others, that you don't." You might see that this is very tricky, because you want to consider other issues as well. What if you disagree to the present diplomatic policies by LDP, although you agree to the future privatization of post offices? But many Japanese do not think that way, and are very fond of the way Koizumi puts it. They admire him, saying "He is always simple and easy to understand."

Oh, Japanese people like mere simplicity better than political complexity. I must admit this attitude is a product of our education. Are teachers responsible? Or are laws?