More teachers go to court over more punishment over Hinomaru

The Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education punished more public school teachers and staff members in Tokyo for not following the board's order that the "Hinomaru" flag be raised and "Kimigayo" be sung at school ceremonies.

On May 25, the TMBE punished 42 teachers with reprimands or wage cuts, and 67 teachers with admonitions.

Teachers were punished for "lack of guidance" if their students did not stand up at entrance and graduation ceremonies. It is unprecedented that the TMBE punished teachers with strong admonition for their students' failure to stand up.

On May 27, 117 teachers and school staff members filed a preventive suit at the Tokyo District Court, calling on the court to not allow the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the TMBE to punish teachers for refusing orders about "Hinomaru" and "Kimigayo." In addition to the first lawsuit filed by 228 teachers in January, 345 teachers in total are suing over the issue.

A teacher who is a plaintiff in the second lawsuit said, "We have no way other than going to the courts because most schools lack freedom of speech. Compulsory measures paralyze freedom of conscience." Another plaintiff, who was denied reassignment because his students remained seated said, "I'm being held at knife point."

In a published statement on May 26, the All Japan Teachers and Staff Union filed a protest saying that the punishment amounts to unjust control of education by administrative authorities in violation of the Fundamental Law of Education. The statement demanded that the punishment be immediately revoked.

Shirase Yoshihiro, the president of teachers unions of schools for disabled children, on May 25 protested that the punishment represents an outrage without parallel in postwar education. (end)

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