Japan public grade school under fire over Armani uniform - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Japan public grade school under fire over Armani uniform

(Taimei Elementary School via AP). This undated photo provided by Taimei Elementary School shows new school uniforms designed by Italian brand Armani.  The Tokyo public school has adopted expensive Giorgio Armani uniforms for students, triggering criti... (Taimei Elementary School via AP). This undated photo provided by Taimei Elementary School shows new school uniforms designed by Italian brand Armani. The Tokyo public school has adopted expensive Giorgio Armani uniforms for students, triggering criti...
(Taimei Elementary School via AP). This undated photo provided by Taimei Elementary School shows new school uniform designed by Italian brand Armani.  The Tokyo public school has adopted expensive Giorgio Armani uniforms for students, triggering critic... (Taimei Elementary School via AP). This undated photo provided by Taimei Elementary School shows new school uniform designed by Italian brand Armani. The Tokyo public school has adopted expensive Giorgio Armani uniforms for students, triggering critic...
(Taimei Elementary School via AP). This undated photo provided by Taimei Elementary School shows new school uniform designed by Italian brand Armani.  The Tokyo public school has adopted expensive Giorgio Armani uniforms for students, triggering critic... (Taimei Elementary School via AP). This undated photo provided by Taimei Elementary School shows new school uniform designed by Italian brand Armani. The Tokyo public school has adopted expensive Giorgio Armani uniforms for students, triggering critic...
(Taimei Elementary School via AP). This undated photo provided by Taimei Elementary School shows new school uniform designed by Italian brand Armani. A Tokyo public school has adopted Giorgio Armani uniforms for students, triggering criticism in a coun... (Taimei Elementary School via AP). This undated photo provided by Taimei Elementary School shows new school uniform designed by Italian brand Armani. A Tokyo public school has adopted Giorgio Armani uniforms for students, triggering criticism in a coun...
(Takuya Inaba/Kyodo News via AP). This Feb. 8, 2018 photo shows exterior of Taimei Elementary School in Tokyo’s upscale Ginza shopping district. The Tokyo public school has adopted expensive Giorgio Armani uniforms for students, triggering criticism in... (Takuya Inaba/Kyodo News via AP). This Feb. 8, 2018 photo shows exterior of Taimei Elementary School in Tokyo’s upscale Ginza shopping district. The Tokyo public school has adopted expensive Giorgio Armani uniforms for students, triggering criticism in...

By MARI YAMAGUCHI
Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) - A Tokyo public school has adopted Giorgio Armani uniforms for students, triggering criticism in a country where hefty school fees are already burdening young parents.

Taimei Elementary School in Tokyo's upscale Ginza shopping district has announced plans to introduce the new uniform option, which costs more than 80,000 yen ($730) for a full set. A minimum set - a navy-blue jacket and matching trousers or skirt, a long-sleeve shirt and a hat - would be more than twice the price of the current uniforms.

The school's principal, Toshitsugu Wada, told a news conference Friday that the top fashion brand would fit Taimei's identity as "a school of Ginza." He said he chose Armani because its boutique is near the school.

Wada acknowledged the new uniform would cost more, but considered it worth it. He said his decision is unchanged despite the criticism.

"I thought Taimei can use the power of the foreign fashion brand for its identity," he said.

The Armani uniform, to be launched in April, is recommended but not compulsory.

In Japan, where a sense of belonging and conformity are valued, uniforms are worn at most secondary schools and used to be considered durable and thrifty. Prices have jumped in recent years and have become a big initial investment for Japanese parents.

"Armani at a public elementary school?" asked Naoki Ogi, a popular education commentator, in his blog. "It's like saying no to poor people and welcoming only those who take pride in Armani."

Besides the cost, critics say uniforms are part of rigid school rules that could infringe on diversity and children's rights.

Government education officials said Friday that school principals are free to set school rules and uniforms, but that in the Taimei case they should have done more to reach a consensus with parents.

"Schools should be mindful of uniform prices so that parents won't be overburdened," Education Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters. "We also expect them to have sufficient discussions in the process with involved parties" including students, parents or parent-teacher associations.

The Armani uniform also came under attack in parliament Thursday.

"School uniforms are already more expensive than the business suits we wear," said Manabu Terata, an opposition lawmaker. "But these uniforms at Taimei Elementary School are especially questionable."

School uniforms tend to be expensive because they come with special school emblems, buttons and other designs.

It's also a billion-dollar market, dominated by a few major manufacturers and competition is lacking, according to a recent Fair Trade Commission report.

Even Finance Minister Taro Aso, a descendant of a former aristocrat known for his dandy fashion, called the costs "pricey."

___

Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/mariyamaguchi

Find her work at https://www.apnews.com/search/mari%20yamaguchi

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • NationalMore>>

  • US companies distance themselves from NRA as pressure mounts

    US companies distance themselves from NRA as pressure mounts

    Friday, February 23 2018 11:15 AM EST2018-02-23 16:15:03 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 5:37 PM EST2018-02-23 22:37:20 GMT
    Investment firm Blackrock wants to know how gun makers will respond to school massacre in Parkland, Florida, and elsewhere.More >>
    Investment firm Blackrock wants to know how gun makers will respond to school massacre in Parkland, Florida, and elsewhere.More >>
  • Police experts urge intensive training if teachers are armed

    Police experts urge intensive training if teachers are armed

    Friday, February 23 2018 5:05 PM EST2018-02-23 22:05:41 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 5:36 PM EST2018-02-23 22:36:52 GMT
    (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP). A bicyclist rides past a sign at  Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018 in Parkland, Fla. Teachers and administrators returned for the first time  since the Valentine's Day shoot...(Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP). A bicyclist rides past a sign at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018 in Parkland, Fla. Teachers and administrators returned for the first time since the Valentine's Day shoot...
    Law enforcement experts say it takes specialized and constant training to know how to act in an active shooter situation.More >>
    Law enforcement experts say it takes specialized and constant training to know how to act in an active shooter situation.More >>
  • Billy Graham and North Carolina: The affection was mutual

    Billy Graham and North Carolina: The affection was mutual

    Friday, February 23 2018 2:38 PM EST2018-02-23 19:38:47 GMT
    Friday, February 23 2018 5:36 PM EST2018-02-23 22:36:48 GMT
    (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek). Tracey DeBruhl, of Asheville, N.C., views a memorial display in tribute to the Rev. Billy Graham inside the chapel at the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, in Asheville. DeBruhl came to pay...(AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek). Tracey DeBruhl, of Asheville, N.C., views a memorial display in tribute to the Rev. Billy Graham inside the chapel at the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, in Asheville. DeBruhl came to pay...
    While the Rev. Billy Graham's travels took him as far away as the Soviet Union and China, he always came back to his native North Carolina, a place of refuge and spiritual refueling.More >>
    While the Rev. Billy Graham's travels took him as far away as the Soviet Union and China, he always came back to his native North Carolina, a place of refuge and spiritual refueling.More >>
Powered by Frankly