• Kyodo

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The Saitama District Court on Friday ordered the municipal government to pay 1 million yen in compensation to a 23-year-old woman who was bullied by her female teacher in 1992.

The bullying occurred while the woman was a student at an elementary school run by the city of Saitama.

Presiding Judge Naoki Ishihara called it a case of “persistent bullying by a party who held absolute authority” over the then 10-year-old victim, and that it constituted a serious human rights violation.

But the judge rejected the plaintiff’s demand for compensation from the teacher, who is now in her 50s.

While the court ruled that the plaintiff suffered emotional distress, it refused to acknowledge her claim that the bullying caused her to suffer posttraumatic stress disorder, despite a doctor’s diagnosis in 2000 that showed she was suffering the disorder.

The woman had sued the teacher and the municipal government for a total of 10 million yen. Her family says she became mentally unstable after she went on to junior high school.

The names of the plaintiff and the teacher were not revealed in the civil suit. The name of the school was also withheld to protect the plaintiff’s privacy.

In 1992, when the plaintiff became a fifth-grader, the teacher said such things to her as, “I don’t want to see (your) ugly face, so don’t show it to me,” and “I will only take care of 36 students” excluding the plaintiff.

When rotating pupils’ seats, the teacher assigned the plaintiff to a corner, telling her, “The four corners are for those with low (ability) levels.” The teacher also told the plaintiff’s classmates that whoever played with her was “a piece of junk in humankind.”

The teacher was replaced in September 1992 after the school determined that her remarks to the girl were inappropriate. The school year starts in April.

The teacher is currently teaching at an elementary school run by the municipality. It remains unknown whether she is still teaching at the school where she taught the plaintiff.

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