Executives of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Headquarters for the Promotion of Revision to the Constitution reached a basic agreement at a meeting on Feb. 20 to add a third paragraph to Article 26 of the Constitution on the people’s right to receive education, making it a goal for the government to improve the educational environment. Article 89 will also be revised to clarify the constitutionality of providing subsidies to private schools.
The proposed new Paragraph 3 of Article 26 will stipulate that, “The government shall strive to improve the educational environment,” focusing on providing government assistance to reduce families’ financial burden relating to education.
With regard to the importance of education, a clause on its necessity in “forming the personality of each citizen” and “the pursuit of happiness” will be added to “opening up the nation’s future” in the LDP’s 2012 constitutional revision proposals.
Furthermore, a passage saying, “The people shall not be deprived of educational opportunities for economic reasons” from the constitutional revision proposals of Nippon Ishin [Japan Innovation Party] will be incorporated. A clause to that effect will be added to Paragraph 1 of Article 26. This is also meant to obtain Ishin’s support for the LDP’s proposal to add a constitutional provision on the Self-Defense Forces.
However, free education from preschool to tertiary education is Ishin’s main constitutional amendment proposal, while the LDP has already decided not to include an explicit provision on free education. Therefore, it is uncertain if Ishin will approve of the LDP’s revision proposals.
Meanwhile, although Komeito advocates reducing the financial burden for education, it is negative about constitutional revision.
With regard to Article 89 which stipulates, “No public money or other property shall be expended or appropriated for the use, benefit or maintenance of any… educational… enterprises not under the control of public authority,” the proposal is to change the last part to “not under the supervision of public authority,” in order to make the provision of subsidies to private schools constitutional. (Slightly abridged)