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Home > Policy > White Paper, Notice, Announcement > White Paper > Japanese Government Policies in Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology 2001 >Introduction Section1.1

   Educational Reform for the 21st Century
Section 1:   Occupation and Educational Reform
1   The End of the War and Toward the Restoration of Education

On 15 August 1945, the Second World War ended and Japan came under the occupation of the Allied Forces, led by the United States.

(1) Wiping Away Wartime Education Policies

Ahead of the Allied occupation, the former Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture (MESSC) began dismantling wartime education policies, abolishing the Students Mobilization Bureau. In September 1945, the ministry announced the Policy of Education for the Construction of a New Japan.

  On the other hand, the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Allied Forces adopted a stern policy of eliminating militarism and the extreme form of nationalism during the wartime, and issued the Four Major Directives, including the suspension of the subjects of morals, history of Japan and geography.

(2) Report of the United States Education Mission to Japan

The U.S. Education Mission on Japan, which arrived in Tokyo in March 1946 at the request of the GHQ, prepared a report for Japan's educational reform.

  The report, written on the basis of the U.S. idea of democratic education, covered a broad range of areas, from the goals of education, the school system, curriculum and the teaching methods for elementary education through to higher education, including teacher training, social education, regional educational administration and finance and language reform.

  This report played a major role as the guideline for postwar educational reform, along with the New Educational Guideline, the first handbook for teachers prepared by the MESSC.

(3) Establishment of the Education Renewal Committee/Education Renewal Council

Following the U.S. education mission's report on Japan, the Education Renewal Committee was established under the direct supervision of the Cabinet in August 1946. Its purpose was to investigate and discuss the basic policy for educational reform in Japan. The committee, the MESSC and the Civil Information and Education Bureau (CIE) of the GHQ formed a tripartite liaison and coordination committee for regular meetings. The Education Renewal Committee was reorganized and renamed the Education Renewal Council in 1949.

  The Education Renewal Committee/Education Renewal Council submitted a total of 35 proposals to the Cabinet, from the first proposal concerning the Fundamental Law of Education and the school system in December 1946 to the last proposal for the establishment of the Central Council for Education in November 1951. Almost every law, ordinance and system related to educational reform in postwar Japan was enforced after discussions at the committee/council. In that sense, it played an extremely significant role in postwar educational reform in Japan.

(4) Enactment of the Constitution of Japan

The promulgation of the Constitution of Japan and the ensuing proclamation of the Fundamental Law of Education were among the most important and significant educational reforms in the postwar period. Preparations for the revision of the Constitution were launched in the autumn of 1945, and the new Constitution of Japan was promulgated in November 1946.

  The new Constitution stipulated for the first time ever the people's "right to receive an equal education...as provided by law" (Article 26), and at the same time established the principle that educational legislation should be governed by law, instead of an imperial ordinance.

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