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10 The Development of Physical Education, School Health, and School Lunch Programs

The 1953 Course of Study for Elementary School Physical Education contained some measures to improve the contents of physical education. The 1968 Course of Study for Elementary Schools, the 1969 Course of Study for Lower Secondary Schools and the 1970 Course of Study for Upper Secondary Schools stressed the importance of physical education as an integral part of the whole school educational activities' and the construction and improvement of school physical education facilities such as gymnasiums and swimming pools was greatly accelerated during the 1960s.With the increase in sports activities, the question arose as to how sports competitions outside of regular school activities could fit into the scheme of promoting school physical education. The Ministry of Education as early as March, 1948, seeking to moderate school physical education programs, set down guidelines for extramural matches as well. With the development of sports activities, improvement of the physical abilities of the students, and betterment of traffic conditions it was felt that revisions of the 1948 standard were necessary. A number of revisions have been made so that at present extramural sports activities which are part of the regular school sports program are clearly differentiated from extramural athletic competitions. Detailed standards have been established for each area of sports activity.

The School Health Law was promulgated on April 10, 1958, and put in force on June 1 of that year to systematize the administration of school health programs. The contents of this Law included specifications for school health plans, environmental hygiene standards for schools medical examinations, health consultations, prevention of infectious diseases, school health experts, school doctors, dentists and pharmacists, and financial assistance for medical expenses. Particular stress was placed on the improvement and staffing of health programs at schools located in depopulated areas. Recent developments include the establishment of environmental standards for the schools. Whereas maladies such as dental cavities and nearsightedness are on the rise in 'the schools at present, all other diseases have tended to be reduced.

Prompted by the occurrence of several group accidents during school excursions and during swimming lessons, the Japan School Safety Association Law was promulgated on December 17, 1959, and put in force on that day. The Japan School Safety Association was established in March, 1960, and the longstanding question of accident compensation as a result of injury incurred in school activities was finally settled. On the basis of this Law, benefits were payable for accidents resulting in injury, disease, disability, or death while the pupil was under the supervision of school authorities. In the 1971 school year the number of beneficiaries under this system was 727,579and the benefits paid out totaled nearly 2.3 billion yen.

Health and safety problems that have come to the fore in recent years include safety education and measures to protect children from accidents in heavy traffic areas and health damage as a result of environmental pollution, in particular air pollution. The Ministry of Education is considering counter-measures such as the restriction of traffic on routes leading to and from school zones and the administration of special medical examinations at schools situated in heavily polluted areas and the establishment of the so-called "green schools." The social changes of the past ten years have been acutely reflected in the health and safety of school-age children.

A characteristic feature of the school system after the war has been the school lunch service. The School Lunch Law was promulgated on June 3, 1954, and put in force on that day. Later, by the 1956 revision of the Law the school lunch service was extended from the elementary school to all the schools in the compulsory system. The aim of the school lunch program, the expense sharing between the establishers of the compulsory schools and the parents or guardians of the children, and the government subsidy to these expenses were spelled out in this revision. Furthermore the rationale for locating the school lunch service within the educational system was clarified in the 1958 Course of Study for Elementary Schools and the 1958 Course of Study for Lower Secondary Schools. In November, 1961, school lunch services were further extended to cover part-time evening courses in the upper secondary schools. The national government began to subsidize powdered milk in 1963 and since 1966 has fully covered the costs of bread and milk in the lunch programs of under populated areas. The Japan School Lunch Association was established in October 1955 based on the Japan School Lunch Association Law which was promulgated on August 8, 1955, and put in force on October 1 of that year. Its function was primarily to provide powdered milk at the start; wheat flour was added in 1971 and thus gradually the system for supplying school lunch provisions has been built up. However development of an effective mass distribution system for more varied foodstuffs and materials will be a necessary improvement in the future. The Ministry of Education retains control over the 'nutritional standards of the lunch service and intends to provide funds to increase the number of nutritionists working with the schools.

The enactment of the Sports Promotion Law, which was promulgated on June 16, 1961, and put in force on September15 of that year, signaled the government's intention to promote sports and physical education activities. At present more than 73% of all sports facilities are attached to schools; 16% of the sports facilities are operated by companies; only 7%, or some10,000 public facilities are open for the sports activities of the general public. The Ministry of Education is currently emphasizing the improvement of sports facilities which are readily accessible to the public in cities, towns, and villages.

Major sports facilities that have been established in connection with international sports events include the National Stadium erected in April, 1958, for the Third Asian Games held in May of that year; the Olympics Memorial Youth Center, a lodging and training facility set up in May, 1965, at the site of the women's village of the Eighteenth Olympic Games held in Tokyo in October, 1964; and the excellent winter sports facilities constructed near Sapporo for the Eleventh Winter Olympic Games in February, 1972. Participation in inter-national sports events of this nature has greatly contributed to the promotion of sports during the past twenty years, as well as to the development of international understanding and friendship.

The active promotion of sports and physical education programs brought into focus the need for trained physical education instructors. As a result, leaders in this field have been recruited and various kinds of training meetings have been helcl.An example of government action in this area was the establishment of the National Training Center of Mountaineering in Toyama Prefecture in June, 1967. Also the Japan Amateur Sports Association has provided a nucleus for the organization of international games as well as for sport5competitions within the country.

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