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Principals among 6 educators disciplined in east Japan for sexual harassment, other issues

This photo shows the Ibaraki Prefectural Government building that houses the prefectural board of education in Mito. (Mainichi/Kotone Nirasawa)

MITO -- A total of six educators including two principals at high schools in the eastern Japan prefecture of Ibaraki have been punished for sexual harassment and other reasons, the prefectural board of education announced on March 23.

    Mitsunori Akimoto, school education director of the Ibaraki Prefectural Board of Education, apologized and stated, "With people who are supposed to be responsible for school management causing such problems, this is a critical situation."

    The disciplinary action was dated March 23. The education board said 56-year-old principal at a prefectural high school in the northern part of Ibaraki was suspended from duty for 12 months. According to the prefectural government's high school education division, the principal sent a subordinate about 250 emails that were not related to work -- some of which included sexual content -- between May 2021 and February 2022. His misbehavior came to light when the subordinate, whose movements on days off were accurately guessed by the principal, consulted the education board. He was quoted as saying in the investigation, "The employee talked to me about their worries and I ended up going too far." He has apparently not revealed whether he stalked the subordinate or did anything else wrong.

    Meanwhile, a 36-year-old teacher at prefectural Mito First High School was put on suspension for four months. He was apprehended by the Metropolitan Police Department for allegedly releasing child pornography through file sharing software in November 2021, and was handed a summary order to pay a fine of 700,000 yen (about $5,800).

    Additionally, four other educators at Ishioka First High School -- the school's principal, deputy head, and two assistant principals -- were punished with pay cuts over an admission decision failure in connection with the prefectural high school entrance exam for the 2022 academic year.

    (Japanese original by Kotone Nirasawa, Mito Bureau)

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