"Kimigaiyo" was made Japan's national anthem in 1999, and the "Hinomaru", the white flag with the red circle in the middle, was made the national flag. There was considerable controversy about the move, but the Diet decided, without national debate, to make the decision. BBC has a good article outlining the various arguments.
The Tokyo Board of Education has made it manditory for all schools to play it at their entrance ceremonies. Some teachers have refuesed to stand for the song and the flag.
Today is my son's entrance ceremony, and I am interested to see if they play it there.