Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


$4.5m win for Japanese teachers forced to sing anthem

26 May 2015, 13:59

Tokyo - A Japanese court has awarded millions of dollars in compensation to a group of teachers who were punished for refusing to sing the country's anthem, the group said on Tuesday as it condemned nationalism in education.

The Tokyo District Court ruled Monday that the capital's municipal government must pay a total of 537 million yen ($4.5m) to 22 former high school teachers.

Also Read: Eastern Japan shaken by 5.6 magnitude quake

The group said the city refused to re-hire them under a scheme that extends employment past the retirement age, because they disobeyed orders to stand and sing the anthem at graduation ceremonies.

Some critics say Japan's anthem amounts to a call to sacrifice oneself for the emperor and celebrates militarism.

Giving teachers 'some breathing room'

Numerous battles over the years have seen teachers clash with school administrators over the issue, and today nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is accused of trying to play down Japan's war history.

In 2012, the supreme court ruled that penalising teachers for not standing to sing the anthem was constitutional, but it warned administrators to exercise care in going beyond a reprimand.

On Monday, district judge Toru Yoshida said the Tokyo government's refusal to re-hire the group was disproportionate to the offence.

"There needs to be careful consideration when penalising people because they behaved in a way based on their own beliefs," he said, according to public broadcaster NHK.

Also Read: Japan PM's wife visits controversial shrine

Plaintiff Eishun Nagai, aged 68, called it "a great ruling that gives teachers some breathing room".

"Because of our punishment, other teachers have felt threatened to express their opinions to superiors, such as principals," he told AFP on Tuesday.

"You are told not to think for yourself but just do what you're told."

Last month, Abe told parliament that raising the national flag and standing to sing the anthem at school ceremonies should be done not only in elementary and secondary institutions, but also public universities.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...