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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 September 13 - 19  > Court: punishing teachers who don’t stand up for ‘Kimigayo’ is illegal
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2017 September 13 - 19 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Court: punishing teachers who don’t stand up for ‘Kimigayo’ is illegal

September 16, 2017
The Tokyo District Court on September 15 judged that the punishment on teachers who had refused to stand up and sing “Kimigayo” at graduation and entrance ceremonies is illegal and thus revoked their disposition.

The court overturned disciplinary actions by the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education against six out of 14 plaintiffs. They are teachers and former teachers of Tokyo-municipal schools. They received warnings, salary cuts, or suspensions from duty due to their disobedience over the Kimigayo song.

It has been three and a half years since they filed this lawsuit. The judge ruled that the board of education exceeded its authority and thus imposing punishment is an abuse of discretionary power. He, however, rejected the plaintiffs’ demand for rescinding reprimands and for compensation.

The metropolitan educational authority in 2003 issued a directive ordering municipal teachers to stand up for the “Hinomaru” flag and sing Kimigayo at school ceremonies and imposing disciplinary measures on violators.

After the court ruling, Tanaka Satoshi, a 48-year-old teacher of a Tokyo special-needs school, said, “The conduct of saluting Hinomaru and Kimigayo is tantamount to praising Japan’s past war of aggression. The directive bothered me because it seemed like I was being denied the universal right to live in peace. I hope the court will nullify all the punishments.”

Hiramatsu Shinjiro, a lawyer of the plaintiffs’ counsel, said, “The court decision which states that sitting during Kimigayo should not be reason for being subjected to heavy punishment is a great achievement.”

Past related article:
> Authorities should stop imposing Hinomaru & Kimigayo at graduation ceremonies [March 1, 2015]
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