The Daily Yomiuri,
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8055
Would someone explain to me what business a girl's genitals are to the teachers, principals and boards of education of the schools they attend? In "Sexually active teens lacking info, advice" (October20) it is said that three Tokyo public high school girls were "allowed to remain students at the school" despite their decisions to have and keep their babies. The unwritten idea is surprise that they decided to have and keep their babies rather than conventionally have abortions. And why in the world would schoolteachers and officials feel embarrassment about it, as reported?
If the girls' parents are paying their taxes then their children have a perfect right to attend their public schools and only a severe medical condition - not mere pregnancy - would represent sufficient grounds to prevent attendance. Even if their parents are not paying their taxes the girls still have a human right to schooling. Remember that public officials- teachers and principals, doctors and nurses, police and fire fighters, politicians and the military - are employees of the public, and it is not for the employees to tell their employers what they may or may not do. It would be more appropriate to question the continued employment of the schoolteachers and officials by the public school board rather than the continued attendance of the pregnant teens at the school.
There is an unadmitted, secret animosity towards children in Japanese culture that has come to light through several recent stories about hospitals rejecting pregnant women, of residents complaining about noisy children, and now about pregnant teens being "allowed" to remain in school, as if the two are incompatible (which they are not).Despite the common lamentation of declining birth rates and population there seems to be a schizophrenic element at play here. I see only benefits for society by minding one's own sexual business and keeping our noses out of other peoples' genitals.
Published on Saturday, October 27, 2007 as “Pregnant schoolgirls also have right to education.”
This is extremely annoying and shows how far Japanese will go - to the point of denying legitimate human rights - to serve the myth of social harmony. I mean, a pregnant high schooler will make people uncomfortable because of the sexuality she radiates, therefore she has to go for decorum’s sake. But it seems clear to me that the problem is with other people, not with the girls using their sexuality to begin with.
Surprisingly, another very significant feature of Japanese rhetoric and exposition was missing form the newspaper article: the muddled and fumbling language, the juvenile emotions and immature turns of phrase that make little logical sense. It was a pleasure to read a straightforward report for a change.