Dozens of Japanese schools are grading students on their "love of country," an education official said Thursday, as the central government seeks to revise national education law to include the teaching of patriotic themes.
A Saitama Prefecture investigation found at least 45 local schools evaluated "love of country" in report cards for 6th-grade students, said education official Hidehiko Suzuki.
Individual schools have the autonomy to decide what is evaluated in report cards, Suzuki said.
The evaluations aren't problematic since "nurturing a feeling of love for country" is among the Ministry of Education's objectives for 6th-grade social studies students, he said.
The findings came as the government pushes to add a provision to the 1947 Fundamental Law of Education requiring educators to foster "love of the nation and homeland and respect for its tradition and culture."
Japan's left-leaning Japan Teachers' Union has accused the ruling coalition of a lack of openness in discussions on the bill.Critics say the revision would further damage ties with Asian neighbors such as China and South Korea, where Japan's World War II-era aggression is bitterly remembered.