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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 November 7 - 13  > Ex-teacher wins compensation in ‘Kimigayo’ lawsuit
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2012 November 7 - 13 [CIVIL RIGHTS]

Ex-teacher wins compensation in ‘Kimigayo’ lawsuit

November 8, 2012
The Tokyo High Court on November 7 ordered the Tokyo metropolitan government to pay damages to a municipal school teacher, who was suspended from duty for a month because she refused to stand up and sing the Japanese national anthem “Kimigayo” at school ceremonies.

The plaintiff is a former teacher at a metropolitan school for disabled children.

The court judgment pointed out that punishing the teacher because of her refusal to stand up and sing “Kimigayo” could infringe upon the freedom of thought and conscience. It concluded that the teacher should not have been punished in such an abrupt manner.

The decision also mentioned that the plaintiff had worked hard to establish rapport with children, which is indispensable in schools for the handicapped. It ruled that just paying the total amount of wages withheld during the suspension is insufficient to compensate the teacher for her suffering caused by the punishment.

The woman had filed a lawsuit against the metropolitan government seeking the cancellation of the penalty, and the compensation. Though the first and second courts turned down her demand, the Supreme Court in January rescinded the punishment, stating, “The authority abused its discretionary power to suspend the teacher from school.” Regarding her claim for damages, the Supreme Court sent the case back to the high court.
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