The Japanese education minister has denounced Western-influenced individualism in schools, saying allowing too much freedom was like eating too much butter, newspapers said yesterday.
Bunmei Ibuki, addressing a function in Nagasaki on Sunday, was quoted as saying that current education policy was imposed by US occupiers after World War II.
"Japan has until now stressed the individual point of view too much," Ibuki told the southern city's chapter of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the Asahi Shimbun reported.
"No matter how healthy butter can be, eating only butter every day will lead to metabolic syndrome," the Nikkei Shimbun quoted Ibuki as saying.
"Human rights are important, but if they are respected too much then Japanese society will have human rights metabolic syndrome," he said.
Ministry and LDP officials said they did not have a transcript of the remarks.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made education reform a top priority, last year pushing through a law that requires schools to teach "patriotism" -- a taboo since World War II -- when students were taught to revere the emperor. His government is also considering bringing back corporal punishment and adding classroom hours.
Ibuki also called Japan an "extremely homogenous" nation, the Nikkei reported.
"There is no doubt that the Yamato race has historically ruled Japan," he said, referring to the main Japanese ethnic group.