Teachers retire to dodge benefit cut

Kyodo

Twenty-five teachers in Saga Prefecture retired by the end of December, three months earlier than scheduled, before the prefectural government cut their retirement allowance on Jan. 1, board of education officials said Wednesday.

The teachers, as well as 11 school officials, quit before the Saga government trimmed as much as ¥1.5 million from each of their allowances in line with the national policy of reducing benefits for central government officials, the Saga board said.

The board said, however, that most of the retired teachers will continue to work as temporary staff until the end of March to limit the negative impact on their students.

In Saitama Prefecture, 108 teachers and some 30 school officials have expressed their intention to quit by the end of January, before the government there slashes up to ¥1.5 million from their allowances in February.

The Saitama board of education said it plans to hire substitute teachers to make up for those retiring.

Saitama Gov. Kiyoshi Ueda voiced displeasure Tuesday, saying the teachers “deserve criticism for irresponsibly calling it quits two months before” their original retirement date.

He said the prefectural government “cannot impose certain values on the teachers, who make their own judgment on advantages and disadvantages,” but called on educators to “fulfill their responsibility.”

In a similar development, 142 police officers and personnel in Aichi Prefecture plan to retire by the end of February, one month earlier than originally slated, before their retirement packages are cut by an average of ¥1.5 million in March.

A senior Aichi police official was indignant at the mass early retirement, which includes station chiefs, saying they are “irresponsible and cannot serve as good role models for their subordinates.” But another senior official was sympathetic, saying it would be “cruel” for them to work one month longer and accept more than ¥1 million in allowance cuts.