Japan teachers lose suit over national flag, anthem issue

Japan teachers lose suit over national flag, anthem issue 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.