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OSAKA — The Osaka District Court sentenced a 51-year-old former junior high school teacher to a suspended 30-month prison term Tuesday for molesting a 13-year-old female pupil last October.

Ginjiro Yamaji was arrested and charged after the student filed a criminal complaint against him the day after the incident, and was subsequently fired from the municipal junior high school he worked at in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture.

In handing down Tuesday’s sentence, which was suspended for three years, presiding Judge Tetsushi Yukawa said the act was malicious and the defendant abused his position as a teacher and took advantage of the girl’s inability to resist due to her shock at what was happening.

“Even after the incident, the victim has been exposed to the curious eyes of those around her, and has suffered emotional scars that will be difficult to heal,” Yukawa said.

Prosecutors had demanded a 30-month prison term.

Yamaji touched the girl after summoning her to an empty classroom before the start of the day’s lessons, the court said. The student had said she wanted to talk to Yamaji, her homeroom teacher, about her being bullied at school.

During a trial session last month, the girl herself took the witness stand and said she did not want to silently put up with being victimized, and demanded an apology from the defendant, who owned up to the allegations in court.

According to a lawyer representing the girl, she was criticized by friends, who told her that she had ruined the teacher’s life. Older students also made fun of her, taunting her as being a sexual harassment victim.

17 Turks on study program abscond KANAZAWA, Ishikawa Pref. (Kyodo) Seventeen male students from Turkey on a brief study program at a Japanese-language school here went AWOL shortly after arriving in the country, it was learned Tuesday.

According to officials at Eurocentres Kanazawa, which is operated by a Swiss educational foundation, the 17, who arrived Feb. 14, are between the ages of 16 and 35.

At least one of them left a note that said “Arigato” (Thanks) at the home of his host family before disappearing, and local police said they suspect they all conspired to bolt in groups.

The students arrived at Kansai International Airport on Feb. 14 and stayed with 11 host families in the Kanazawa area. They were scheduled to leave Japan from Narita airport after finishing their Japanese-language and culture program on March 3.

Of the 17, 13 did not return to their host families on the evening of Feb. 15 — the day after they arrived in Japan — while the other four disappeared after attending morning classes on Feb. 17, school officials said.

The school said it accepts 100 to 150 overseas students every year.

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