After the recent arrest of six youths on charges of assault and attempted robbery, Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto has announced the reinstatement of mandatory Saturday attendance for elementary school students, starting this weekend with five schools and eventually including all elementary schools by April of next year. Speaking to reporters, Hashimoto said that Osaka’s children need to perform better: “I would like our teachers to do their best. To support them, we plan to spare no expense.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Originally abolished 10 years ago, Saturday attendance is now being seen as a possible cure for falling standards and juvenile delinquency. In addition to the charges leveled against them, the youths are suspected of being behind a wave of attacks on homeless men in the area, many of which were caught on security cameras, and one of which resulted in the man’s death. Hashimoto is known to be an admirer of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who promoted stronger education standards during her tenure in government.