OSAKA – The Osaka District Court on Thursday found a former senior high school teacher guilty of assaulting a student who committed suicide shortly after and sentenced him to a year in prison, suspended for three years.
As the student’s basketball coach at Sakuranomiya Senior High School in Osaka, Hajime Komura, 47, slapped the 17-year-old team captain on the head and face for failing to follow instructions on Dec. 18 last year, the court said.
Komura, also frustrated with the student’s failure to answer questions, slapped him at least 10 times on Dec. 22, it said. The student hanged himself the following day.
“It was outrageous that the defendant assaulted the student for failing to play basketball to his satisfaction,” presiding Judge Kenta Onodera said. “The student’s suicide shows he suffered deep psychological pain as well as physical pain.”
At the first hearing of his trial on Sept. 5, Komura apologized to the victim’s family for his actions. “Physical punishment was the wrong method and it caused both mental and physical injuries,” he acknowledged.
After the judge handed down the ruling, Komura, without saying a word, bowed to the family members in the courtroom.
The student’s mother said after the ruling that it is regrettable Komura won’t do any prison time for his actions.