To the principal of a public elementary school in Tokyo's Ginza district, it seemed only fitting that his students dress in a way worthy of its upscale surroundings.
Taimei Elementary School is introducing the uniforms for incoming pupils, each costing more than 80,000 yen ($729), including optional items, or more than three times as much as current ones, the Huffington Post said.
The school has told the board, "From the intention to make a uniform as a 'school of Ginza, ' we went around department stores and Armani accepted designing it as a result". He said he chose Armani because its boutique is near the school.
The Armani uniform, to be launched in April, is recommended but not compulsory. Prices have jumped in recent years and have become a big initial investment for Japanese parents. "It's like saying no to poor people and welcoming only those who take pride in Armani".
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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.
"I'm anxious that a wrong notion that something expensive is good and something cheap is bad could be imprinted on children", said the woman, whose child is set to start at the school in April, when a new school year begins.
" Opposition lawmaker Manabu Terada even raised the issue during a parliamentary session, questioning the logic of such an expensive uniform at a public school with students from a range of backgrounds".
Education minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said the ministry will consider taking steps so that the burdens on the parents to purchase uniforms "would not be excessive".
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"I made the decision for the future of Taimei Elementary School", Wada wrote.
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.
Asked to comment on the issue, Finance Minister Taro Aso, known for his own tailored Savile Row-style suits, acknowledged that he thought the planned attire was "expensive for an elementary school".
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