Let us start the fight to reclaim decision-making power in universities.
Government-led university reforms over the past few decades have thoroughly deprived staff and students of decision-making power and made university autonomy a thing of the past. Now the president and a few board members hold dictatorial powers, and the faculty council can only "express opinions" to the president. Students are deprived of even the opportunity for dialogue, and are subjected to unilateral strengthening of control and destruction of their rights.
The same is true of Kyoto University, which has been described as having a "free academic culture". The billboards that once covered the stone walls have been removed and alcohol is banned during the November Festival. The cap system has taken away the freedom of choice, the health clinic, which had been a need among students, has been unilaterally abolished, and a court decision on the demolition of student dormitories is imminent. Above all, disciplinary action, including expulsion and indefinite suspension, has been repeatedly taken against students who protest against the destruction of their rights.
Instead of freedom and autonomy, self-responsibility and the principle of competition dominate universities.
University reform is now in its final stages. The House of Representatives recently passed a bill to amend the National University Corporation Law.
The new 'Management Policy Council' will be set up, with a government-appointed manager and university president making decisions for the university. The state and large corporations will be directly in control of the universities, standing above them.
What lies ahead? Beyond the dismantling of university autonomy, which was born out of the remorse for having once been complicit in war, lies the mobilization of universities for war once again. Mobilization of universities and research institutions for military research has already begun with a budget size of 250 billion yen, based on the Law for the Promotion of Economic Security.
Not only that. Genocide against the people of Gaza by the Israeli military is now underway.
However, the current administration is defending Israel's 'right to self-defense' and complicity in the massacre, while ignoring the history of Palestinian ethnic oppression. To follow the national policy is to condone such historical revision and to be complicit in real wars and massacres.
And President Minato has taken the lead in following state policy by appointing a director in charge of "economic security" last October, ahead of other universities in the country. We can no longer tolerate the Minato regime, which deprives students, faculty and staff of decision-making power and rights, and paves the way for war through forced obedience to state policy.
At last year's dormitory festival, we dared to raid the President Minato's office in order to speak directly to him. President Minato's response was to introduce a massive police presence on campus. The President and state power joined forces to suppress the students.
However, we fought in a scrum with our gathered comrades and succeeded in breaking into the headquarters building. We can always overcome obstructions, repression, punishment and arrests by university staff and police, and attacks by powers we cannot face alone, if we seriously unite and act together.
Eleven months later, the Kyoto University authorities are still trying to recall and punish the students who allegedly 'incited' the raid on the President's office. This is an escalation of repression in response to the final stage of university reform and the escalation of the war situation, and it is absolutely unacceptable.
If you think this will frighten us, you are mistaken. We are now going to storm the President's office again. This is not just to speak directly to the President, but to get rid of the President, who does not listen to the voices of the students and clings to power. To show the power of the students and to force him to surrender his right to decide. To restore university autonomy and reject state mobilization for war. And to prove that people can stand up to the oppression of power. It appeals to all those who are angry at the state of the universities, at the contradictions in society and at a world heading towards war. Let the fight to reclaim the stolen right to decide begin here.