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HOME  > Past issues  > 2011 June 1 - 7  > Punishment of teachers over ‘Kimigayo’ constitutional: Supreme Court
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2011 June 1 - 7 [EDUCATION]

Punishment of teachers over ‘Kimigayo’ constitutional: Supreme Court

June 7, 2011
The Supreme Court on June 6 turned down the appeal by plaintiffs and upheld a lower court decision supporting the disciplinary actions taken by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government against public high school teachers who refused an official order to stand up and sing “Kimigayo.”

Thirteen former public high school teachers demanded compensation from the Tokyo government, stating it is illegal for the administration to refuse to re-employ them after retirement on the grounds that the teachers rejected following a directive requiring them to sing “Kimigayo.”

The Tokyo District Court in February 2008 ordered the metropolitan government to pay the compensation, ruling that the government’s action was illegal. However, the Tokyo High Court in January 2010 overturned the decision and dismissed the plaintiff’s claim.

Although four out of five judges at the first petty bench of the top court pointed out, “(The directive) could become an indirect restriction on freedom of thought and conscience,” they went on to state, “(the directive) is necessary and reasonable so the restriction is acceptable.”

Meanwhile, Judge Miyagawa Koji insisted on sending the case back to the lower court on the grounds that the directive compels the teachers to behave against their moral conscience.

The plaintiffs and their lawyers issued a statement saying, “The supreme court decision intentionally ignored the unconstitutional behavior of the education administration, trivialized the issue, and wrongly concluded that it is constitutional.”

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