Japan public grade school under fire over Armani uniform - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

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>>

  • Indictment of Missouri governor could have political ripples

    Indictment of Missouri governor could have political ripples

    Saturday, February 24 2018 9:15 AM EST2018-02-24 14:15:50 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 1:17 PM EST2018-02-24 18:17:31 GMT
    It didn't take long after Greitens was indicted for alleged invasion of privacy for Missouri Democrats to tie him to Attorney General Josh Hawley. (Source: AP Photos)It didn't take long after Greitens was indicted for alleged invasion of privacy for Missouri Democrats to tie him to Attorney General Josh Hawley. (Source: AP Photos)

    The indictment of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on felony invasion of privacy charges could have political implications beyond his office.

    More >>

    The indictment of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on felony invasion of privacy charges could have political implications beyond his office.

    More >>
  • US lands agency makeover would diminish Washington's power

    US lands agency makeover would diminish Washington's power

    Friday, February 23 2018 10:45 AM EST2018-02-23 15:45:44 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 1:11 PM EST2018-02-24 18:11:36 GMT
    U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has changed a proposed overhaul of his department with a new organizational map that more closely follows state lines instead of the natural boundaries he initially proposed.More >>
    U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has changed a proposed overhaul of his department with a new organizational map that more closely follows state lines instead of the natural boundaries he initially proposed.More >>
  • Greitens blames politics, but even some in GOP concerned

    Greitens blames politics, but even some in GOP concerned

    Friday, February 23 2018 8:04 AM EST2018-02-23 13:04:51 GMT
    Saturday, February 24 2018 1:11 PM EST2018-02-24 18:11:31 GMT
    (St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP). A booking photo provided by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department shows Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018.  A St. Louis grand jury has indicted Greit...(St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP). A booking photo provided by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department shows Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. A St. Louis grand jury has indicted Greit...
    Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is defiant, even amid calls for impeachment or resignation, after a St. Louis grand jury indicts him for felony invasion of privacy.More >>
    Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is defiant, even amid calls for impeachment or resignation, after a St. Louis grand jury indicts him for felony invasion of privacy.More >>
Powered by Frankly