National

210 public school teachers disciplined over sexual behavior in fiscal 2017, Japan's education ministry reports

JIJI

A total of 210 teachers at public schools in Japan were disciplined over sexual behavior in fiscal 2017, which ended in March, according to an education ministry survey.

The number fell by 16 from the record high marked the previous year, but it has remained above 200 since fiscal 2013, the survey showed Tuesday.

Of the latest annual total, 56 were punished for touching the victim’s body, followed by 42 who carried out secret filming or peeping, and 38 who had sexual intercourse.

Of the teachers at public elementary, junior and senior high schools who faced disciplinary measures, including dismissal and admonishment for acts of obscenity or sexual harassment, 97 committed such acts against students at the schools where they worked while 26 victimized teachers or other staff at those schools.

Of the total offenders, the number of men came to 206 and the figure for women stood at four.

“The result reflects a low level of awareness among the teachers,” a ministry official said. “It is good to build a relationship based on trust with students but crossing the line is totally unacceptable.”

Elsewhere in the survey, the number of teachers who took sick leave due to depression or other mental health problems increased 186 to 5,077.

The rise apparently stemmed from increased amounts of work and stress from handling unreasonable requests from parents and others, according to the ministry official.

The official suggested promoting teachers’ work style reforms, including the more active use of outside personnel such as support staff to help teachers prepare for teaching and to conduct clerical work.

Meanwhile, women held 17.5 percent of managerial positions in schools, such as school heads and vice heads, marking the highest-ever level. The government aims to raise the share of managerial workers who are women to 20 percent in fiscal 2020.