Even those familiar with the near legal invulnerability of Japanese teachers have been astonished by a court verdict which saw a teacher who stole ¥766 of food from a supermarket being awarded ¥18,000,000 after her employers had the temerity to attempt to punish her.
The case centres on a 60-year-old former Osaka high school teacher, originally arrested in 2008 after being caught red-handed stealing pork and cucumber worth ¥766 from a Nara supermarket, although charges were eventually dropped.
However, the prefectural school board decided it should not be employing a known thief as a teacher, and sacked her in 2009 as punishment, also stripping her of her teaching license.
She then sued the board in late 2010, demanding she be reinstated.
The court finally rendered a verdict in early 2012, ruling that “compared to the amount she shoplifted, the financial damage inflicted on the woman by stripping her of her teaching license and similar was too great.”
The board appealed, but lost and was told to pay a severance payment equivalent to the value of her lost teaching license, which was set at approximately ¥18,000,000.
The school board responsible has said it will not appeal the ruling further as it doubts its chances of winning, and instead agreed to pay the settlement.
There is considerable outrage at this latest example of the pampering enjoyed by Japan’s teaching profession, already notorious as being perhaps the nation’s leading employer of sex criminals:
“Like it’s the amount that matters!”
“She steals from the shops and then steals our taxes…”
“I don’t think it’s the amount she stole which is at issue, but the fact she stole it in the first place…”
“How can you justify employing a thief as a teacher? What would her pupils think?”
“It’s hard to imagine this was the only time she was doing this. It is shoplifting after all.”
“Shoplifting is a crime of habit. It’s obvious she did it before she was caught. So why do these moron feel they ought to waste so much of our taxes on her?”
“They should consider the damage a woman like this inflicted on her students by teaching them.”
“Why didn’t they press charges against her for shopifting anyway?”
“And why did it take her nearly 2 years to decide to sue the school board!”
“She’s certainly been an education to her students.”
“Considering how much they had to pay out for nothing in return, in purely monetary terms they should have just kept her on.”
“No wonder they never get fired.”
“Teachers really are nothing but scum, aren’t they?”
“Japan’s civil servants are innocent when they steal, and can even draw a pension…”
“What happened to our courts?”
“They are run by civil servants as well.”