Sunday, February 12, 2006


The Statement
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.

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