Japan's parliament enacted a law Friday to make it harder for educators dismissed for sexual misconduct at work to return to the profession, a response to cases in which teachers have repeatedly offended against students.
The House of Councillors passed a bill to allow prefectural education boards to refuse offending teachers' license renewal applications. The law also gives the central government the power to create a nationwide database of teachers who have been dismissed due to misconduct.
In the year through March 2020, 273 teachers at Japanese public schools were subject to disciplinary action or a reprimand for obscene acts or sexual harassment, the second-highest on record, according to the education ministry.
Under the current law governing teaching licenses, it is possible for those who were dismissed to have a license reissued three years after their discharge for sexual misconduct.
In one such case, a teacher was found to have repeatedly acted obscenely towards students after being hired by a municipality without disclosing their historical offenses.
Under the new law, such teachers will be granted a new license only when local education boards judge he or she has been rehabilitated appropriately. The boards decide after hearing a third-party panel assessment of the subject.