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Teacher in Japan leaks info of 29 students while trying to sell it on Twitter

Ichikawamisato municipal education board general affairs director Yumi Aikawa, left, and superintendent of education Wataru Watai are seen bowing in apology over an information leak by one of the teachers in its jurisdiction, at the town hall in Ichikawamisato, Yamanashi Prefecture, on Jan. 29, 2022. (Mainichi/Ayano Tanaka)

ICHIKAWAMISATO, Yamanashi -- An elementary school teacher here leaked personal information including the names and addresses of 29 students at his school on Twitter, the town's education board announced on Jan. 29.

    According to the Ichikawamisato Municipal Board of Education, the school teacher in his 20s tweeted that he was "in financial trouble " on Jan. 24. He was then approached by an account claiming to operate a "personal loan business," who told him that they "would buy students' personal information." The teacher subsequently downloaded a list of students onto his computer, printed it out, took a photo of it and sent the photo to the purported lender via direct message on Twitter.

    On Jan. 27, the Twitter user posted the image, which was blacked out except for student numbers, writing, "The teacher who tried to sell personal information." The tweet also included a photo of the teacher and his name. A town employee noticed the tweet the following morning.

    The leaked list included personal information of all 29 third and fourth graders at the school. It also contained the students' sex, the names of their guardians and parents, as well as their emergency contacts.

    The teacher apparently has told the education board, "I've been struggling financially and foolishly took the other person's bait. I feel sorry for the students and their guardians." He also reportedly explained that he hasn't received any money for the information. Authorities have not confirmed any illicit use of the leaked data.

    Ichikawamisato education board chief Wataru Watai told a Jan. 29 news conference, "It's something that should not have happened, and we sincerely apologize to the students and their guardians who have been affected."

    The Twitter account that released the information has since been deleted. The education board has consulted Yamanashi Prefectural Police's Kajikazawa Police Station about the case, with an eye to filing criminal complaints against the teacher as well as the person behind the now-deleted account.

    (Japanese original by Ayano Tanaka, Kofu Bureau)

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