Rebuked ex-teachers lose ‘Kimigayo’ suit

The Tokyo High Court on Thursday rejected a demand for compensation by former teachers who argued they were refused postretirement re-employment because they had remained seated during the national anthem at school ceremonies in defiance of their principals’ orders.

The ruling overturned a February 2008 decision by the Tokyo District Court that awarded a total of around ¥27.5 million in compensation to 12 former teachers and a clerk at high schools run by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

Several lawsuits have been filed, mainly by teachers who have been reprimanded, seeking nullification of the disciplinary measures and a court confirmation that the orders are unconstitutional.

The Tokyo District Court ruled in September 2006 that the board of education cannot force teachers to sing the anthem in front of the national flag or reprimand them for refusing to do so, as such practices infringe on the Constitution.