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Educators stunned as teacher moonlighting for host club in Japan accused of solicitation

People walk on a bustling street in Nagoya's Naka Ward on October 2021. (Mainichi/Koji Hyodo)

NAGOYA -- A part-time junior high school teacher was arrested for allegedly soliciting a customer -- who turned out to be a police officer -- in this central Japan city's downtown area while secretly working at a host club.

    Though the man is allowed to have a second job outside of his work hours as he is not a regular city employee, the Nagoya Municipal Board of Education is perplexed as it "didn't expect him to be a host."

    According to Aichi Prefectural Police, the part-time teacher in his 20s is suspected to have approached a female police officer in plainclothes on a street in Nagoya's Naka Ward on the evening of Feb. 11, saying things including, "Would you like (to come to) a host club?" He was arrested on suspicion of violating the prefecture's nuisance prevention ordinance, which bans unreasonable touting, and the case was sent to prosecutors, accusing the man of violating Japan's amusement business law.

    The man worked 20 hours a week, teaching math at a municipal junior high school, and was paid 2,829 yen (about $21) per hour. Since around August 2022, he had reportedly been working at a host club two or three times a week. He was reportedly living with his parents and did not appear to be struggling financially.

    An investigative source said, "He was a teacher during the day, and worked as a host, pulling in customers, at night. It seems he had a yearning to be a host." An education board official told the Mainichi Shimbun, "He did not display any problematic behavior at school. We hear that he had been taking his teaching job seriously."

    The local public service law prohibits public employees from working at commercial enterprises without the permission of authorities with appointive power. However, this does not apply to part-time workers, and employees who aren't working full time are allowed to hold multiple jobs and perform side work. There is no clear line between the types of work that are acceptable as side jobs and those that are not.

    The Mainichi Shimbun spoke to one man in his late 30s who works as a part-time teacher at a municipal junior high school in Nagoya. He says many young teachers also have side jobs. This ranges from teaching at music and tutoring schools to working at sports goods stores, sushi restaurants, or supermarkets. He explained, "We can't live on our teaching income alone. Some colleagues say people may do it (work for nighttime entertainment businesses) if they won't get caught."

    When teachers work multiple jobs, they usually notify the school principal to have their schedules adjusted. But neither the junior high school nor the education board knew the teacher in the recent case had been working part time as a host.

    According to the Nagoya District Public Prosecutors Office, the teacher was released on March 3 without indictment. The municipal education board plans to consider disciplinary action based on interviews with the man. However, the point of contention is not the man's side job as a host, but rather the act of illegal touting.

    Regarding the type of side jobs that are allowed, an education board official said, "It is difficult to just say, this is not allowed but that is OK. It could be a form of occupational discrimination or a violation of human rights." Due to the unexpected situation, the education board is apparently having difficulties dealing with it. "It's very hard to decide how we should view the (teacher's) side job as a host. We will consider establishing certain regulations, but it's something we can't easily decide on," a member of the board said.

    (Japanese original by Richi Tanaka and Sawako Kumagai, Nagoya News Center)

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