PreventiveLawsuit

Sunday, February 12, 2006

MARCH 20th, THE CONCLUDING SESSION OF THE TRIAL

It has been two years and a month since we filed the Preventive Lawsuit and it is scheduled to be concluded on March 20th 2006. There have been 13 court days in total, where the plaintiffs, witnesses, scholars and lawyers took the stand to testify how the 10.23 directive has deprived Tokyo Metropolitan schools of freedom of education, violating article 19, 20 and 21 of the Constitution of Japan and the article 10 of the Fundamental Law of Education.

PLEASE COME AND WITNESS THE CONCLUSION OF THE TRIAL ON MARCH 20TH!

March 20th 2006
13:30-16:00
103 court room, Tokyo District Court (the same bldg. as Tokyo High Court)
1-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda ward, Tokyo
TEL:03-3581-5411

Take A1 exit of Kasumigaseki station of Marunouchi subway line or Hibiya Sabway line. Once you come out on the ground, walk 20m ahead and you will find the entrance of the Tokyo District Court on your right.

If you plan to come to hear this trial, please contact Haruno at yobososho@hotmail.co.jp



SHOW YOUR CONCERN BY SIGNING THE PETITION

The final judgment is to be given in September or October. We are going to present a petition to the court for fair judgment over the suit. We are expecting to collect over 10,000 signatures by the end of March 2006. To make our voices heard, we need your support!

There are two ways to join this campaign:
  1. Downlord petition form from here and send it to the address written on the form.
  2. Sign online at http://homepage3.nifty.com/yobousoshou/chokushomei.htm. The first thin box is for your NAME, the next fat box is for your POSTAL ADDRESS, the third thin box is for your E-MAIL address. Then click 送信 to send it to us.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR COOPERATION!

STATEMEMT MADE BY THE GROUP OF FIVE TEACHERS DEMANDING THE RETRACTION OF THE UNJUST DENIAL OF RE-EMPLOYMENT

The Statement
for
The Lawsuit for Confirming the Illegality of the Denial of Re-employment

Today we have filed a lawsuit against the Tokyo Board of Education claiming damages for the disadvantages caused by the unjust denial of re-employment based on unconstitutional reprimand.

We, five retired teachers, were among those who were reprimanded by the board last year for defying the directive that ordered us to stand up and sing Kimigayo, the national anthem at graduation ceremonies. The directive had been issued by the board on October 23,2003. This year the board denied all of us re-employment after retirement for the reason of the reprimand.
The directive, which violates the freedom of thought and conscience, is itself unconstitutional, and therefore the punishment based on the directive is also invalid. We had joined more than 200 other teachers in filing the appeal to the Tokyo Personnel Committee immediately after the reprimand was imposed, demanding the examination of the validness of the punishment.

The committee, however, delayed the examination more than a year and divided us arbitrarily into 13 groups. It was only in May that the first hearing started. While the examination was being delayed in this unjust way, the denial of re-employment was added as another punishment.

In addition to the first reprimand, we were forced to attend the so-called Seminar for the Prevention of Recurrence as if we had committed some serious crime, and this time we were denied the job after retirement. We cannot allow the board to abuse its authority imposing these double or triple punishments on us. In April this year, Fukuoka District Court in Kita -Kyushu City, which had been examining the similar case, ruled that wage cut has a serious influence on the life of the punished, and is inappropriate from the viewpoint of conventional wisdom. The denial of re-employment in Tokyo has far greater influence on our life, depriving us of five yeas' income.

The re-employment system was first introduced in 1985, when the age limit was set for retirement, to guarantee the employment on annual base after retirement. With the age of the payment of pension being raised, the system has become all the more important, and so far almost all the applicants had been accepted as part time teachers or staffs.

The denial of re-employment this year, following the last year's cancellation of the contracts with the nine re-employed teachers, has a serious psychological influence on those who are now working at Tokyo Metropolitan schools, threatening that if they refuse to obey orders, they will never be re-employed after retirement.

This problem concerns not only us five and the more than 300 reprimanded people, but all the teachers and staffs including those who might be punished in the future for refusing to obey the directive. If we leave the situation as it is, the Tokyo Metropolitan schools will become the place of control and obedience, with teachers and students fearing to express their honest opinions.

We have decided to file the suit because we cannot allow the outrageous attacks by the Tokyo Board of Education. We will fight against the board until we win the confirmation of the illegality of the punishments.

We sincerely ask the journalists of Japan and other parts of the world to pay close attention to this lawsuit and to report on this issue throughout the world.

2005.8.2
The Group of Five Teachers Demanding the Retraction of the Unjust Denial of Re-employment
Akishi Miyasaka, Hiroko Arai, Motohisa Kiyokawa , Masahiko Komori, Misato Watanabe

Saturday, February 11, 2006

OTHER ORGANIZATIONS AND LAWSUITS

In spite of the Preventive Lawsuit and other forms of protest against the 10.23 direcitve, the Tokyo Board of Education has reprimanded over the past two years more than 300 teachers and school staffs who stayed seated during the singing of the national anthem at graduation or entrance ceremonies. They refused to stand in protest against the 10.23 directive, which they thought was unconstitutional. The music teachers who refused to accompany the singing on the piano were also reprimanded.
The following are the organizations and lawsuits to fight against the coercion of the “Hinomaru “ & “Kinigayo”, and to win the retraction of the unjust punishments.

1. THE ORGANIZATION of REPRIMANDED TEACHERS FOR THE RETRACTION OF THE UNJUST PUNISHMENT INVOLVING THE "HINOMARU" & "KIMIGAYO"

This is the organization of the teachers and the school staffs who were inflicted unjust punishment by the Tokyo Board of Education for having refused to obey the orders based on 10.23 directive.

It is their belief that the coercion of the national flag and the anthem violates “the freedom of thought and conscience, religion and expression” guaranteed by the articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Constitution of Japan. It also violates, they say, the article 10 of the Fundamental Law of Education, which prohibits the political intervention by the administration into education.

Its activities include bringing the matter to the Personnel Committee inquiries, issuing of the newsletter, holding and participating in various events to regain the freedom of education, exchanging information and co-operating with other organizations and so on.

【 Personnel Committee Examination】

They filed an appeal to the the Personnel Committee of Tokyo for the retraction of the unjust punishment, since public servants, when inflicted punishments by the administration, cannot bring a lawsuit directly to the court, without first appealing to the personnel committee.

In the examinations currently being held, the reprimanded teachers are inquiring the staffs of the Tokyo Board of Education and the principals in order to prove that the board intervened in the content of the ceremonies of each school, and therefore violated the article 10 of the Fundamental Law of Education, which prohibits the political intervention by the administration into education.

In case the examination takes too long, or the committee’s decision is improper, they plan to bring the matter to the court.


2. THE LAWSUIT FOR THE RETRACTION OF THE DISMISSAL

Among the reprimanded were teachers who had been working or were to work part time after retirement. They had been promised the next year’s job, but were suddenly fired on March 31, 2004, the last day of the school year, for the reason of staying seated during the singing of the “Kimigayo”at the graduation ceremony.

They filed a lawsuit on June 17, 2004, for the retraction of the dismissal. Another teacher, whose employment had been canceled in 2005 joined them in October 5, 2005.
There have been 9 court days so far.

The next trial is scheduled:
on April 12 (Wed.) 10:30-11:30 a.m.
at Tokyo District Court

3. THE LAWSUIT AGAINST THE REFUSAL OF RE-EMPLOYMENT

Five teachers who retired in March 2005, one year after the reprimand had been inflicted, were told that they had not been accepted as part time teachers for the next school year. The re-employment system was first introduced in 1985, to guarantee the employment on annual base after retirement. With the starting age of the payment of pension being raised, the system has become all the more important, and so far almost all the applicants had been accepted with only very few exceptions. It is obvious that the five teachers were denied of the re-employment because of the refusal of standing at the anthem singing.

They filed a lawsuit on August 2, 2005 claiming the illegality of the refusal of re-employment.
There have been 3 court days so far.  

The Next hearing is scheduled:
on April 20 (Thu.) 10:30 am.
at Tokyo District Court Room 710

Both hearings are open to the public and your attendance is most welcome!



TRANSLATION OF "10.23 DIRECTIVE" or "10.23 TSU-TATSU"

The documents below are our private translation of 10.23 Directive, the written directive issued by the Tokyo Board of Education on October 23, 2003 and the guidelines attached to it. They were handed out to all the principals of Tokyo Metropolitan schools, who were summoned to the principals’ meeting on that day.

October 23, 2003

To Principals of Tokyo Metropolitan high schools and
Principals of Tokyo Metropolitan schools for the handicapped,
Superintendent of Schools
Yokoyama Yokichi

With regard to the practice of hoisting the national flag and singing the national anthem at entrance, graduation and other ceremonies (Directive)

Tokyo Board of Education has directed each school to practice entrance and graduation ceremonies appropriately based on the course of study, in order to lead the pupils and the students to have the correct understanding of the national flag and the anthem, and to pay respect to those symbols.
As a result, hoisting the flag and the singing of the anthem has been practiced at all the Metropolitan schools since the graduation ceremonies of 2001. The actual conditions of the practice have been, however, full of problems. Each school should try to improve and better the practice of the hoisting the flag and singing the anthem.
Accordingly, we direct each school to practice the hoisting of the flag and singing of the anthem appropriately at entrance, graduation and other ceremonies as follows.


  1. To practice entrance, graduation and other ceremonies appropriately based on the course of study.
  2. To follow exactly the attached “guideline concerning the hoisting of the national flag and the singing of the national anthem at entrance, graduation and other ceremonies”
  3. To make it known to all the teachers and other staffs that if they should fail to obey the orders by the principal, they are to be reprimanded.



The attached is the guideline concerning the hoisting of the national flag and the singing of the national anthem at entrance, graduation and other ceremonies.

1. The Hoisting of the National Flag

The national flag should be treated as follows at entrance, graduation and other ceremonies.
  1. The flag should be hoisted in the front, on the wall of the stage.
  2. The Metropolitan flag should be hoisted along with the national flag.: the national flag on the left, the Metropolitan flag right.
  3. When the national flag is hoisted outside, it should be on the pole, gate or front entrance etc, so that pupils, students, custodians and visitors can acknowledge that it is hoisted.
  4. It should be hoisted from the opening time of school till the closing time.

2. The Singing of the National Anthem

The national flag should be treated as follows at entrance, graduation and other ceremonies
  1. The phrase “Singing of the national anthem” should be printed in the program of the ceremony.
  2. The master of the ceremony should announce, “The singing of the national anthem,” and ask all the attendance to stand up.
  3. The teachers and staff should stand facing the national flag and sing the anthem at their seats assigned beforehand.
  4. The singing should be accompanied by the piano.

3. Setup of the Ceremony Venue

The ceremony venue should be arranged as follows;
  1. When the graduation ceremony is held in the gymnasium, a podium should be placed on the stage, and diplomas should be given to the pupils or students there.
  2. When the graduation ceremony is held at other places, a podium should be placed in the front of the place, and diplomas should be given to the pupils or students there.
  3. The ceremony venue should be arranged so that the pupils and the students are seated facing the front.
  4. The teachers and staff should be dressed appropriately to suit the solemn and purifying atmosphere of the ceremony.



Tuesday, February 07, 2006

WHY WE FILED THE PREVENTIVE LAWSUIT (Press Release June 16, 2005)

Press Release June 16, 2005
About a year and a half ago, we filed a lawsuit against the Tokyo Board of Education, demanding the invalidation of the directive that had been issued by the board on October 23, 2003. The directive ordered the teachers and other staffs of Tokyo Metropolitan schools to stand facing the "Hinomaru" flag and sing the "Kimigayo" national anthem at school events such as graduation or entrance ceremonies. It implied that the failure to follow the order should result in serious reprimands.

Hinomaru & Kimigayo
In Japan there are various opinions and attitudes towards the flag and the song because of their association with the country's wartime aggression, and even when the symbols were granted legal status by the National Flag and Anthem Law in 1999, the government assured us that they would not be forced upon anyone.

The Board says "One size fits all", but does it really?
The 10.23 directive, not only ignoring those facts, but also prescribed every detail of
the ceremonies. And the board sent several inspectors to all the Metropolitan schools to make certain that the ceremonies were conducted as ordered. As a result, the freedom and creativity of each individual school were lost, and the ceremonies to celebrate students' graduation or entrance were transformed into cold and rigid rituals.


Prevention is better than cure.

Many teachers and school staffs perceived that the true intention of the directive was to produce teachers and students who are reticent and obedient to the authorities, and decided to file a lawsuit to invalidate the directive. Carrying the formal title of The Lawsuit for Confirming the Right to Refrain from Singing or Playing the National Anthem, less formally it is known as The Preventive Lawsuit. What is unusual with this lawsuit is that while most suits are filed after some punishment or disadvantage has been imposed, this one was filed to prevent the anticipated punishment beforehand.

We will fight for the victory of the Preventive Lawsuit and the retraction of the unjust punishments.


Teachers in Various Standings United to Protest
Both those who refuse to stand during the song and those who cannot choose but stand against their will can take part in the suit together. It has now developed into a large-scale civil movement, with 401 plaintiffs, more than 50 lawyers, and more than 1,000 supporters, and it is drawing keen public attention as one of the most important in the history of educational lawsuits in Japan. It claims that the 10.23 directive violates the article 10 of the Fundamental Law of Education, which prohibits the political intervention by the administration into education, as well as articles 19,20,21 of the Constitution of Japan, which guarantee the freedom of thoughts, religion and expression.

Teachers Punished for 40 Seconds of Silence
In spite of various forms of protest against the 10.23 directive including this lawsuit, however, the Tokyo Board of Education reprimanded about 250 teachers last year, and more than 60 this year. Among them the severest is one month's suspention from teaching imposed on a teacher who was reprimanded for the fourth time. This unprecedented punishment is too severe for just sitting quietly for 40 seconds during the song. Furthermore, teachers whose students did not stand during the song or those who explained about the freedom of conscience to the students in classes were summoned or interrogated for 'inadequate student guidance', and were given punishments of 'strict warning' or 'guidance'.

Strife to Guard the Freedom of Education
It is now quite clear that the true target of the coercion is students. We cannot allow the Tokyo Board of Education to ignore the Constitution of Japan and to make Metropolitan schools the place of control and obedience. With the start of the examination of witnesses, our lawsuit has moved into a new and import stage. We are going to prove publicly in court the injustice of the coercion by the Tokyo Board of Education, and the justice of our disobedience, the struggle for the freedom of education. The network to support our struggle has been widely spreading, but the circumstances in this country do not allow us to be optimistic. The Koizumi Administration is aiming at the amendment of the Constitution of Japan and the Fundamental Law of Education, for which the debate at the Diet is scheduled to begin. The Preventive Lawsuit is an important movement to fight against nationalistic control of education and to protect the fundamental human rights and the freedom of education guaranteed by the Constitution and the Fundamental Law of Education.

Your Attention Matters!
We sincerely ask the journalists of Japan and other parts of the world to pay close attention to this lawsuit and to report on this issue internationally.
Thank you very much in advance.

This news release is issued by:The Organization to Advance the Preventive Lawsuit