An Australian court on Monday fined a Japanese teacher AU$55,000 ($36,000) for failing in his duty of care over the drowning of two Japanese schoolboys on a popular tourist island in Australia's east in 2019.

Shinri Minatoya, 61, was one of two teachers accompanying the 16-year-old boys and 13 other students from Kanagawa University High School on a guided group tour at Lake McKenzie, a picturesque freshwater lake on the World Heritage-listed K'gari, formerly known as Fraser Island, in Queensland in March 2019.

The teacher, who appeared at Hervey Bay Magistrates Court in Queensland, pleaded guilty to the charge of violating work health and safety laws over the incident that saw two boys go missing while swimming in the lake on March 29, 2019. Their bodies were found in the lake the next day.

Photo taken on Feb. 25, 2024, shows Lake McKenzie on K'gari in Queensland, Australia. (Kyodo)

"In breach of the health and safety duty you owed to those two children, you allowed them to go swimming in Lake McKenzie and you did not adequately supervise was an obvious risk and an obviously failure in your duty," the court's magistrate told Minatoya.

He was also ordered to pay AU$1,599.7 in professional costs for the proceedings. Taking into consideration the possible impact on his employment, among other factors, the court did not give him a conviction.

In a statement read aloud to the court, the teacher, who has over 30 years of experience in the profession, admitted to failing his responsibility over the students, and apologized to the bereaved families.

Huckleberry Australia, a locally-based Japanese tour operating company that organized the trip for the students, who belonged to the school in Yokohama near Tokyo, was convicted and fined AU$250,000 for failing to comply with its health and safety duty over the students in February 2023.

The company's director, Hiroyuki Hidaka, also faced similar charges, but the complaint was dismissed in 2022 after no evidence was presented by the prosecution.