Deprivation of Liberty Worldwide: Japan


The educational system in different cities around Japan has been depriving children of their liberty for several years now. A strict zero tolerance policy has been implemented into the disciplinary system in both elementary and secondary level schools. Of particular concern is the policy which includes disciplining in a separate room or space for surveillance and reprimand, students who have misbehaved. These rooms are often spacious, yet the child sits in a confined area and typically in the dark. During this time, they are not allowed to make contact with other classmates, must follow different itineraries for starting and ending school, and cannot go to the bathroom unaccompanied. They are forced to self-educate themselves, and are then judged on the quality and effort of their work.

One of the main issues with this policy, aside from its harsh nature and degrading attribute, is the degree to how much it separates child from teacher. The bond no longer becomes one of educating (in academic and social terms), but of fear and dominance. Children no longer enter school grounds and feel at ease, but rather overwhelmed by pressure. This can cause a number of different psychological and emotional problems for a growing child. Schools are meant to help children thrive, something that the zero tolerance policy is not conducive to.