American School in Japan admits covering up teacher’s sex abuse for decades


Staff Writer

The scandal-hit American School in Japan admitted Friday that it concealed decades of sexual abuse it said was committed by former teacher Jack Moyer and offered its first public apology since the scandal broke in March last year.

“Survivors attempted many times to expose abuse, and we are ashamed to report that they were rebuffed or ignored by the school,” the international school’s board of directors said in a message to alumni on Friday.

“We apologize for the great harm that was caused by teachers and administrators who failed to protect the students in their charge,” the school said, vowing to ensure the “safest possible environment” for present and future students.

“We failed you and we should have done more.”

In the letter, the school in Chofu, western Tokyo, said that it was committed to reimbursing all victims for counseling costs and that it will disclose the full report compiled by Boston-based law firm Ropes & Gray, which conducted an independent investigation into the abuse, “on or before June 15.”

The report, which is expected to include accounts by the serial pedophile’s survivors, will be translated into Japanese to help authorities reach out to potential victims. Moyer, a renowned marine biologist, is believed to have remained in contact with Japanese pupils after his retirement from the school in 1984.

The Japan Times has reported that during his employment at ASIJ from 1962 to 1984, Moyer is believed to have abused and raped at least 32 girls. He committed suicide in 2004.

ASIJ also pledged to meet the child safeguarding standards designated by Keeping Children Safe, a London-based agency that offers certification and advice.

In addition, the school will conduct background checks on all potential employees and set up a “safe, anonymous” complaint system where children can blow the whistle on instances of abuse, it said.

After repeatedly urging the school to take responsibility for their prolonged suffering, 13 victims of Moyer’s abuse heralded Friday’s announcement as a major step forward in closing a dark chapter in their lives.

“We, thirteen survivors of Jack Moyer’s sexual abuse, applaud and celebrate the crucial steps that the new ASIJ board is taking to understand and address what happened to us and ensure that current and future students are safe,” they said in a joint statement.

Referring to the “compassion,” “tireless support” and “extraordinary guidance” shown by their fellow ASIJ alumni and lawyers, they concluded the statement with a tribute to the school: “Having gone through this together will make ASIJ a stronger, safer community in the future, and as a result, we are once again proud to say that WE ARE ASIJ.”

  • Hamouni Djamel

    This is not the first time, in Okinawa and another places too, they are abusing the girls in Japan

  • Vixzer

    Apologies not accepted, I hope the victims will sue the school and the people that covered those crimes until they are all arrested.

    It is stupid really, there is nothing worth of being proud to study in a school like that.

    • Unless you’re one of Moyer’s victims, I don’t think it’s your place to accept or reject any apology that has been offered. It’s telling that the 13 survivors who stepped up and pressed the school to do what’s right *did* accept this message from the board. For those of us involved with the school, it’s a welcome sign that things are moving in a positive direction at long last.

      • Barry Rosenfeld

        Thank you.

  • Aeron

    How has that school NOT been torn to the ground, politically and financially?

  • Facebook User

    The U.S. loves to hide sexual assaults! If the rest of the world knew how much sexual assault happens in schools in the US, churches, colleges and especially our US military!

    Www theusmarinesrape com

  • wind

    As a former advocate against child sex abuse back in Canada, this is actually the closest admission to a cover-up in recent memory. Exposing these disgusting places and forcing their noses into their own sh** would never have been possible without the internet. My ability to fight back my former abuser and his protective church by Canadian courts/media proved limited, but being able to flip the bird to Canadian defamation law from half a world away proved priceless. THANK YOU INTERNET!


    with statistics we know the japan have the lowest rate of rape 1per100k thats 30-50 times less than usa, so japan dont need usa lesson about morality.
    but japan need lesson for lack of reaction…. its hard to understand how a guy can do this on 30girls during 20years without reaction of police or school…and the actual reaction of school make me sick…they propose money and apologize?
    no, we need to know who and why people cover this guy, we need to know how they protect girls now, and in the future, if a raped girl could be listened and trusted and not ignored.

    • Jud Mag

      JPhas low statistics as many cases go unreported, especially within the family. I recommend that you look into reasons why crime rate is artificially low, too. The police do not register cases that can be amicably resolved to keep statistics from rising. Pretense does NOT equal resolution.
      Also, women who are raped typically end up not going to court because the system has no counselling involved, no access to female police personnel and in the rare cases that they are availbale, their lack of training in how to handle cases forces vitcims to simply give up and deal with the trauma on their own.

      • Steve Novosel

        “The police do not register cases that can be amicably resolved to keep statistics from rising.”

        Why should police waste valuable public resources to prosecute cases that can be amicably resolved? This is a good thing!

      • Jud Mag

        :-) Amicably is a euphamism for the vitcim being pressured into silence by the police. I thought that was common knowledge as it is a fairly usual practice.

      • Steve Novosel

        “common knowledge” of “fairly usual practice” is usually a euphemism for “supported by no evidence whatsoever”, IMO.

        Why would the police want to or need to cover this up? Looks like ASIJ did the horrible coverup just fine on its own.

      • Jud Mag

        Try being a foreign woman in Japan, speak from experience and then see what you say. Also, I am sensing we might refer to different cases above.

      • Steve Novosel

        I’m not sure what being a foreign woman in Japan has to do with anything – “common knowledge” with no factual support is still rumor any way you cut it. Sorry.

      • Jud Mag

        Glad to hear you have never had any shocking experiences which were repeatedlly covered up. Sad to say not even my embassy could intervene: JP police was literally useless when it came to investigating. We now have a support group. I am thinking you should visit sometime.

    • gatekeeper96740

      In Japan the girls who are raped are told it will be a police officer (male) collecting the sample and they will treat her like the criminal.
      The LOVE their low crime stats. Anything that makes Japan lose face in the eyes of the world is squashed.
      Long time former resident of Japan..

  • NankingChina

    Jew news? American Jews are an amazing group

    2% of US population
    88% of history channel stories.
    60% of US TV/Movie comedians/actors/producers
    45% of US bankers
    33% of US Supreme Court Justices
    25% of US homosexuals
    15% of Israel Defense Forces
    .000000000001% of US military forces, haven’t been many Jews in US military since 1949
    “Today, the Jewish state has a greater number of Jewish Americans serving than in any other military including their own (USA) military; with roughly 3,000
    Americans who did not grow up in Israel serving”, said Israeli Defense Force (IDF) spokeswoman Lt. Libby Weiss.

    The U.S. government doesn’t discourage those wanting to join,
    but some may question why those willing to put themselves in harm’s way would choose the IDF as opposed to the American military.

    “As much I’m a proud American,” said David Meyers of Belmont, California, “there’s an incredibly deep and long connection that
    I have to Israel.”

    Their loyalty is to Israel not USA.

  • ZeliaLH

    As a long-term expatriate resident in Tokyo with children (now all grown-up), I can’t convey the deep disgust I feel for Jack Moyer on reading this article. Why the heck were ASIJ Directors and Adminstrators sitting on their hands for decades while young girls were being sexually violated by Jack Moyer? Ray Downs (even though he passed away in 2009) and Peter Cooper must be investigated for neglect of responsibilities. ASIJ must lose its WASC accreditation. Even after his retirement from ASIJ, Ray Downs and his wife, Lavinia, were the go-to people for advise on ‘international school choice’ for new expatriate parentys and clindren. ASIJ deserves to be condemned to the maximum extent possible and the victims of Jack Moyer must sue.

  • Eagle

    “Facebook User”

    Yes there are many sexual assaults. Thanks for the link.

  • MacTire

    My children all attended Japanese schools. A friend and former colleague of mine went deeply into debt to pay for his children’s ASIJ education, which assured that they would know enough English–and, more importantly, have enough of the right connections–to make for themselves lucrative careers. The ASIJ administrators can wallow all they want in feigned remorse, but whatever money is paid out will be made up for with hefty hikes in tuition, which rich corporations and snob-conscious suckers will go on paying.

  • Liars N. Fools

    Schools like ASIJ get support from the U.S. government. I think it appropriate for the Japan authorities and the security people in the State Department to look into this. Although not an American government school, the funds it gets from that government make it an appropriate subject of inquiry, if only to ascertain if any Embassy victims might exist.

    • Barry Rosenfeld

      You just made that up didn’t you? No. They don’t. It’s purely a private school accredited internationally reliant on tuition. I attended there myself from 1979-84.

      • Liars N. Fools

        Any school, and ASIJ is one, that accepts the children of U.S. government employees as students gets a grant from some State Department office. That grant also includes a commitment from the State Department to look at security issues. This is meant to be about counter-terrorism mostly, but security in the broader context means other threats that may be posed to American government employees’ dependents.

        That is also why if there some threat looming in the real world security officers from the State Department would inform schools that have a connection with American government employees. This is not to displace local law enforcement but to complement. This also may not occur much in Japan where there usually is not a huge security threat. I am willing to bet, however, that there was some contact between ASIJ and the Embassy Tokyo security people in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake/tsunami/nuke problems.

      • Barry Rosenfeld

        I found your description quite interesting. I am not quite sure if you’re ex-State Department, but could you kindly steer me to where you had gotten this information about the SD giving such grants? I should be very interested in see this as this was previously unknown to me. Thanks in advance.

      • Liars N. Fools

        You can ask the administrators of any school that enrolls the children of American government employees as students, including ASIJ since I gather you live in Japan. They should know the name of the office.

        Years ago I served on a board of a school in an Asian city that, unlike Tokyo, was always hot and humid. There was a lady from the State Department office with a distinctive name but which I cannot remember and who may be retired by now who talked to the board about what the State Department could help with because it also helps the children of American government employees. For example, she provided contact points for counseling services for students with special needs. On the security front, she helped us procure some film that provides sun protection and, more importantly, stops windows from shattering into potentially lethal pieces. Very important should one ever have windows shatter in typhoons, earthquakes, or, God forbid, other circumstances. The Embassy security people periodically contacted the school’s security guard force.

        As a former board member, I must express some surprise at how long this abuse went on. Boards are elected to be snoopy and questioning. We dealt with issues like the disparity of wealth between students and the local community, which necessarily got us involved in such issues as drug and alcohol abuse. And we were involved with internal frictions, too, among faculty and staff. I do not know much about ASIJ other than from news stories and acquaintances who had connections with that school. But where the hell was the ASIJ board?

  • FeministSafeZone.blogspot.com

    Yet more evidence that WHITE MALES are a problem demographic. When are we going to get together and finally do something about these people?

    • Ken Foye

      Moyer was also an environmentalist, a graduate of the University of Michigan, a doctorate recipient from the University of Tokyo, a native of the state of Kansas, an author of books and newspaper pieces, and an English teacher.

      Applying your “logic,” it would mean that all those groups of people are also “problem demographics” and that we have to “finally do something” about them.

      Seriously … while most sexual molestation of minors is committed by men, most physical abuse and neglect of children is committed by women. So let’s get your facts straight before you go launching into your next hateful, sexist anti-male tirade.

      I’m wondering how many women at ASIJ participated in the covering-up of Moyer’s sexual crimes. The chances that ALL of the cover-uppers were men is very small.

  • Testerty

    Japan is a occupied country, so of course it is a huge rape ground for the occupiers who always get away since they are the master race there. I believe the joke is they treat Japanese women as comfort women.

    • Eagle

      Japanese men never rape Japanese women? Do we have a statistics how many Japanese women are raped by Japanese men and by the “occupiers”? Then who occupied Japan? Maybe the Japanese as they rape more women. It’s just not in the daily news. And what about the millions of TM Japanese “chikans” and the non Japanese women who are raped here by Japanese men?
      Care to find us a statistics? I don’t think it’s the matter of master race.

      • Testerty

        The difference is Japanese rapists are treated as criminals. The American troops that rapes gets a fre “get of jail” and go home to USA.

      • Eagle

        Point taken. Thank you for making it.

  • Dan

    Still don`t understand why this news is only being reported in The Japan Times and none of my students have heard of it (including a reporter from one of the big Japanese papers). Pretty sure if it was a UK story it would be all over the national papers. Perhaps I`m blowing it out of proportion due to vested interests but if anyone could enlighten me, it`d be much appreciated.