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Osaka teacher disciplined for smoking on duty 3,400 times

An office of the Osaka Prefectural Government, where the board of education is located, is seen in Osaka's Chuo Ward. (Mainichi/Kazuhisa Soneda)

OSAKA -- A high school teacher in western Japan's Osaka Prefecture will have his salary cut by 10% for a month for smoking on the job an estimated 3,400 times over nearly a decade, the prefectural education board announced on Dec. 27.

The estimated number of illicit smoke breaks was derived from entries in the diary of the school sports club he coached. The education board will demand the teacher return about 1 million yen ($9,100) of his salary.

According to the education board, in the years from April 2010 to September 2019, the teacher usually puffed up behind the school gymnasium. Furthermore, he often left the school grounds without permission during class hours to eat at restaurants.

The prefectural government in May 2008 introduced a total ban on smoking on its premises. In June 2019, it notified all government staff that it would discipline any employee who smoked on duty.

The teacher was quoted by the school board as saying, "I couldn't stop it even though I understood it was bad behavior. "

(Japanese original by Toru Tsukui, Osaka City News Department)

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