Bomb-planting teacher sentenced to 10 years

The Tokyo District Court sentenced a 43-year-old high school teacher to 10 years in prison Wednesday for attempting to kill a principal at Mita High School in Tokyo’s Minato Ward by placing an explosive on his desk in March 1999.

Kotaro Matsumura, who had been a mathematics teacher at Tokyo’s Hiroo High School, was also convicted for planting a similar bomb outside the home of a senior metro government education official in February 1999, injuring the official’s daughter.

In handing down the ruling, presiding Judge Tetsuji Nagaoka said the defendant’s act, which is nothing other than terrorism, gravely affected the public as the crime was committed by someone who was responsible for setting a good example for students.

Nagaoka added that Matsumura committed the act for selfish reasons and injured an “innocent” family member in the process.

According to the court, Matsumura placed a bomb filled with pachinko balls, used to create a more powerful explosion, on the principal’s desk at the Mita high school in an attempt to threaten the education authorities.

Matsumura had said in court that he wanted to prevent them from oppressing the teachers’ union.

He was also afraid that he would be transferred to schools he did not want to go to, such as those on remote islands or part-time high schools, court documents said.

He sprayed tear gas at a Mita high school official when the official asked who he was, it said. The bomb went off later, creating a large hole in the desk and shattering windows, they said.

In February, Matsumura planted a similar bomb at the home of a Tokyo official in charge of education in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture.

Prosecutors in February had demanded 12 years in prison. Matsumura admitted in June that he placed the explosives but denied he intended to kill anybody.