Japan teachers lose suit over national flag, anthem issue

Last Updated: Thursday, January 28, 2010 - 21:45

Tokyo: Tokyo High Court on Thursday rejected a
demand for compensation by former teachers who argued that
they were refused post-retirement re-employment because they
had remained seated during singing of "Kimigayo" national
anthem at school ceremonies despite their principals` orders.

The appellate court ruling overturned the February 2008
decision by Tokyo District Court that awarded a total of
around 27.5 million yen (.23 million USD) in compensation to
12 former teachers and a clerk at public high schools run by
Tokyo metropolitan government.
Presiding Judge Tatsuki Inada of the high court said the
orders to stand up and sing the anthem in front of the
Hinomaru national flag "were not intended to command them to
engage in acts that may straightforwardly deny the plaintiffs`
perception of history and do not necessarily violate Article
19 of the Constitution that establishes freedom of thought and
conscience."

The ruling largely followed the lines of a Supreme Court
precedent issued in February 2007 on a similar case.
On the decision by the metropolitan government to reject
them post-retirement re-employment as part-time instructors,
the judge said the local government acted within its
discretion because "the plaintiffs had no option but to be
rated lowly since they violated orders from superiors and
were reprimanded."

The lower court ruled in February 2008 that metropolitan
education board overstepped and abused its discretion by
attaching exaggerated importance to their disobedience of the
orders while failing to factor in other aspects such as their
service records.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, January 28, 2010 - 21:45

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