Statement of Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi
August 9, 1999
Today, a bill legally designating the sun flag as the national flag and "Kimigayo" as the national anthem was passed into law.
Although the sun flag and "Kimigayo" have a long history and their wide usage has taken hold as customary law, it is highly significant that they have now been given a clear basis by written law as we are about to move into the 21st century.
Any nation cherishes its national flag and national anthem as symbols of the nation and considers them indispensable. I believe that the national flag and the national anthem play an important role as the proof of the nation's identity through their wide acceptance among the people.
This legalization will not impose new obligations on the people with respect to the national flag and the national anthem. However, I hope people will take the enactment of the law as an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the history of the sun flag, and the origin of "Kimigayo" and its words.
I think that with this legalization a correct understanding of the national flag and national anthem will be promoted in school education. I also hope that appropriate education on the national flag and the national anthem will help instill in the minds of the children of the next generation the kind of manners required as members of the international community and thus help them grow up as Japanese who are respected.
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