National

Record 282 teachers in Japan punished for sexual offenses in 2018 school year

JIJI

A record 282 teachers at public schools in Japan were punished for sexual offenses during the school year beginning in 2018, up 72 from the previous year, an education ministry survey showed Tuesday.

Of the total, 163 were expelled in the year that ended in March 2019, up 43.

The ministry is urging the country’s 47 prefectural governments and 20 ordinance-designated big cities to review their standards for punitive measures if their punishments for sexual offenses against students are anything lighter than a dismissal.

The survey also found that no standards for punitive measures exist for such acts by teachers in Hyogo and Kochi prefectures, and the city of Okayama.

In the city of Shizuoka, such offenders may only be suspended, according to the survey.

The ministry will summon officials from those municipalities early next year to tell them to strengthen punitive measures.

The survey showed that 89 teachers were punished for touching the victim’s body, followed by 48 who secretly filmed or peeped on their victims. Forty-one had sexual intercourse.

Over 60 percent of all victims were students or graduates of the schools where the offenders worked.

Following a case of bullying among teachers at an elementary school in Kobe, the ministry captured data on abuse and other problems between teachers, including power harassment, for the first time.

The results showed that 32 teachers were punished for such issues in fiscal 2018, including nine who were disciplined. The nine included those punished for sending messages persistently to colleagues via Line and making violent remarks to their superiors and colleagues.

The survey also found that the number of teachers who took leave due to mental health problems increased by 135 to 5,212.

The number of teachers subject to punitive measures for punishing students physically came to 578 at public schools, down by seven.

Including teachers at private and national schools, the total number of teachers penalized for corporal punishment stood at 767, down by six.