It was an abrupt resignation.
A three-year-old girl was left on a bus to and from Kawasaki Kindergarten (Makinohara City, Shizuoka Prefecture), an accredited kindergarten, and died. The school’s director, Tatsuyoshi Masuda, 73, resigned on September 8.
At a press conference held on September 7, Masuda said, ‘I will resign as soon as a successor is decided. However, the next director has not yet been decided. According to his lawyer, he resigned out of remorse for the girl’s death and criticism of his sloppy safety management.
However, without knowing the details of the incident, no concrete measures or checks have been decided upon for the future. It would have to be called an irresponsible resignation,” said a reporter from the society section of a national newspaper.
The incident occurred on September 5. China Kawamoto, 3, a student at Kawasaki Kindergarten, died after being left on a bus for five hours in the intense heat. The cause of death was heat stroke.
The temperature that day was over 30 degrees Celsius, and China’s body temperature had risen to 40 degrees Celsius when she was found. Mr. Masuda and a female dispatched staff member in her 70s were on the bus, but neither of them checked China-chan’s disembarkation, saying, ‘I thought the other would check. Perhaps China-chan could not stand the heat. She was found with her clothes off, topless, and an empty water bottle nearby.
Despite this, Mr. Masuda at the press conference seemed to be somewhat concerned with other people. When asked about his impression of China-chan, he said, “I don’t even know [each one’s] name,” and misspelled her name as “Chinatsu-chan. He then said, ‘I am a human being, too,’ and ‘I felt sorry for her in that hot weather.
The father is also the preschool director.
Investigations by the police and the prefectural government also revealed that Masuda had neglected to clean the car and disinfect it with alcohol after the children got off. If he had disinfected the car as part of his daily routine, it is highly likely that he would have noticed China-chan. What kind of person is Mr. Masuda?
He is from my hometown, Makinohara City. After graduating from Senshu University with a degree in business administration, he studied childcare by correspondence and completed it at the age of 50. He took over “Kawasaki Nursery School” from his father, who was the director, in August 2002. Mr. Masuda used his connections with the mayor and other politicians to rapidly expand the business.
According to the September 22 issue of “Shukan Bunshun,” Masuda has known Shigeki Nishihara, the former mayor of Makinohara City, for 40 years. He was also a member of the supporters’ association of local Diet member Chihachi Oishi.
According to the corporate registration, the Haibara Gakuen’s assets were about 100 million yen immediately after Masuda became chairman, but by April of this year they had increased to about 400 million yen. As a result of the privatization of nursery schools promoted by former Mayor Nishihara, “Haibara Gakuen” was also selected as the designated manager of two nursery schools in the early decade. It was the most vigorous school corporation in Makinohara City,” he said.
Despite the rapid expansion, “Haibara Gakuen”-operated “Kawasaki Kindergarten” was short on staff. Mr. Masuda defended himself at a press conference, saying, “It is very difficult to hire people. This incident may be a tragedy caused by Masuda’s inappropriate expansion of the business.
Photo: Kyodo News： Kyodo News