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Kyoto day care firm warned by city gov't over ex-director who abused kids and staff

Kyoto City Hall is seen in Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, on Feb. 25, 2019. (Mainichi/Yusuke Kaite)

KYOTO -- The Kyoto Municipal Government has sent a recommendation for improvement to a welfare company that runs a local day care center, after reports that its former head had verbally and physically abused children during after school activities.

The recommendation was issued on Feb. 4 to Shisan welfare company, which operates Ouke Hoikuen day care in Kyoto's Fushimi Ward, it was announced in a Feb. 5 meeting of the Kyoto City Assembly's education and welfare commission. According to the city, the former day care head also served as the welfare company's director, and the director of after school activities.

An investigation found that he engaged in regular verbal and physical abuse from 2013 to 2019. He reportedly admitted during the investigation that he told off a child for swinging their water bottle by hitting them on the head with the item; on a daily basis used a pen to hit children who weren't obeying instructions; verbally abused the children by saying, "Do you want to get hit? Idiot"; referred to the kids as stupid and claimed they had Asperger's syndrome in front of other teachers, and engaged in other abusive behavior.

Additionally, he is said to have disposed of complaints and requests from parents, guardians and employees without reporting them at meetings of the Shisan board. He also apparently upped his salary and benefits twice without consulting the board, while during the same period also lowering employees' pay.

In June 2019 a group of parents and others submitted a letter of appeal to the Kyoto Municipal Government outlining their concerns. From October, the city conducted a special audit on the welfare company in accordance with rules set down in the Social Welfare Act. When the issues came to light, the man resigned, and the board and councilors at the firm all reportedly changed positions, too.

The recommendation for improvement points out the improper operations of the company and asks it to take measures to rectify its business practices. The company has until March 31 to submit a report on the measures it has adopted.

(Japanese original by Masateru Sawaki, Kyoto Bureau)

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