Every month in Japan, there are news reports of sexual crimes and sexual assaults committed by school teachers. Most of them are committed by male teachers and staff against children or female teachers and staff. However, it is doubtful to what extent appropriate disciplinary actions are taken.
According to the “Survey of Public School Teachers’ Personnel Administration in Reiwa 2021,” published by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, 216 teachers were punished for sexual crimes and sexual violence in the past year.
Whether this is considered a large number or a small number depends on one’s perspective, but what is surprising is the nature of the punishments. While 119 were dismissed, 50 were suspended, 21 received a pay cut, and 2 were given a warning, meaning that half of those disciplined were able to return to work.
What kind of sexual crimes and sexual violence have teachers committed and what kind of punishment have they received?
They are still suffering.”
Ayaka Sakaoka (pseudonym), who was sexually assaulted by her vice principal when she was an elementary school teacher in Kyushu, states
I suffered from PTSD as a result of the male head teacher’s sexual violence, and I am still suffering from the inability to do my job. Even so, the vice principal only gave me a written warning and I have been working at the same place for a long time. That is the way schools and school boards are today.”
She even went to court, as she later stated, but was forced to give up the fight as she was screwed over. From that incident, I would like to consider teacher sexual misconduct/sexual violence and disciplinary action.
The incident occurred in March ’16.
At the time, Ayaka, 31, was working as a part-time science teacher for grades 3-5 at a public elementary school in Kyushu.
She was paid 2,590 yen per class (45-minute lesson). His monthly salary was just over 150,000 yen. When he arrived at the school, because he was not a regular teacher, he would stop by the staff room to say hello to the administration, then immediately go to the science lab and return home when his class was over.
His contract as an instructor was for one year, and every year around January he was asked if he wished to work the following year. He was in a precarious position: he would submit his request there, and only if there were not enough regular teachers, would his contract be renewed around March 20, just before the start of the new school year.
On a rainy Sunday in mid-March, Ayaka was preparing for the next year’s classes, even though her contract for the next school year had not yet been finalized. It was in the evening as the sun was setting when her cell phone rang. The caller was Masahiro Futamura (pseudonym), the vice principal of the elementary school where he worked.
Futamura said, “Today, we are going to eat yakiniku.
“Wanna go out for yakiniku today?”
Futamura was a married man in his mid-50s with three children the same age as Ayaka, but he lived alone. Local school administrators often traveled alone to their workplaces, and it was a regular practice for them to invite faculty and staff out to dinner, even on their days off.
Ayaka was not inclined to do so, but since she was regularly looked up to, she headed for the yakiniku restaurant in the rain.
It’s still early.”
Ayaka was the only one who came to the restaurant. According to Futamura, all the other staff members he approached were inconvenienced.
After the meal, he asked Ayaka, “It’s still early, isn’t it?
It’s still early. How about another drink? There’s too much food from my mother’s kitchen, so why don’t we have a drink at my place?”
Ayaka said she had to prepare for class. Ayaka said she had to prepare for class.
Why don’t you make the teaching materials at home? We can’t spread out the teaching materials at the store.
Ayaka was told that if she came to his house, he would help her make teaching materials for school. Ayaka could no longer refuse the offer, and reluctantly decided to go along.
She arrived at 9:00 p.m. and spent the first hour making teaching materials. It was around 10:00 p.m. that Nimura’s attitude suddenly changed.
He said, “Let me hold you for a minute. Come here.
He leaned in, leaned over, and held him down. In an excited voice, he asked, “Shall we kiss? Let’s have sex? No? Then, let’s take a bath. and began to rub Ayaka’s body.
Ayaka desperately resisted, but her body was held down and she could not get out of it. During this time, Futamura kept putting his hands inside her clothes and guiding Ayaka’s hands to his own crotch.
After all, he played with Ayaka’s body for almost an hour, and when he thought he had withdrawn, he came back to touch her again, saying the same thing. Ayaka was upset, but she managed to resist, not crossing the last line, and when she saw an opportunity, she said, “I’m going home,” and left his house.
What happened that day came as a great shock to Ayaka. However, having escaped from Futamura’s house, everything seemed to be over.
However, Futamura himself did not take it as a complete rejection of her; rather, he seemed to think he had a pulse. From that day onward, he sent short messages one after another, telling her that he wanted to see her, that he wanted to be her fan, that he could not sleep (because he could not see her), and so on. These were frightening messages to Ayaka, like threatening letters.
The faces of the students flashed through her mind.
Three days after the incident, Ayaka was summoned by the principal, who told her
I have decided to ask you to work for me as a part-time teacher for the next school year. Thank you very much for your cooperation.
At the beginning of the year, she had expressed her wish to continue working at the school next year. This was decided at this time, of all times. This meant that she would have to work for Nimura again next year.
Ayaka describes her despair at the time as follows.
I felt as if everything had gone completely black. Later, it was pointed out to me why I did not immediately report the incident to the principal, but I was too panicked to do so. I felt like I was blaming myself for not following through, and I felt responsible, like I shouldn’t disrupt the school just before the end of the school year.
I couldn’t even talk to other teachers about it. I was a part-time teacher, so I rarely talked to other teachers. The only person I usually asked for advice was the vice principal who attacked me. I didn’t have anyone like a colleague I could trust.”
There is no more vulnerable position in a school than that of a young part-time teacher. For her, the only person she could rely on was the vice principal, Mr. Futamura. It was understandable that she would feel this way if she was attacked just before her contract was up for renewal.
When the principal told Ayaka about the contract renewal, what flashed through her mind were the faces of the cute students.
If she refused at this moment, she would not be able to find a teacher before the new term. If that happened, the students would not be able to take science classes, and even if another teacher were to temporarily take over for them, it would obviously cause chaos. If she caused such trouble, she might never be hired as a teacher again.
Ayaka answered with a painful decision.
I understand. I will do it again next year.
Ayaka had a feeling in her heart that she should just put up with it. However, she was still receiving creepy short messages from Futamura, suggesting sexual advances.
This decision would lead Ayaka into an unexpected tragedy. For more details, please read [Part 2: The vice principal’s indecent assault, “The school’s ultra lenient punishment”].
Part 2: The Indecency Case of the Vice Principal: “The School’s Super Lax Disciplinary Actions”
Interview and text： Kota Ishii
Born in Tokyo in 1977. Nonfiction writer. He has reported and written about culture, history, and medicine in Japan and abroad. His books include "Absolute Poverty," "The Body," "The House of 'Demons'," "43 Killing Intent," "Let's Talk about Real Poverty," "Social Map of Disparity and Division," and "Reporto: Who Kills the Japanese Language?
PHOTO： Afro Kota Ishii