On March 8, Wakayama Prefectural Police arrested a 25-year-old elementary school teacher for shooting illicit photos of a young girl who was changing clothes.
According to Shukan Bunshun (March 26), the case is a symptom of an ongoing problem of male faculty members within Japan’s educational system committing obscene acts.
The education ministry began keeping records of such transgressions by faculty in 1977. Since then, the first year that the number of incidents eclipsed 200 was 2013.
The charges included kissing, fondling, peeping (nozoki), taking illicit photos (tosatsu) and actual sexual intercourse. Especially troubling to Shukan Bunshun is the fact that of the 205 recorded incidents 93 involved girls who were pupils at the schools of the perpetrators.
Indeed, the “lolicon teacher” phenomena is escalating, moans the magazine in referring to men who are attracted to much, much younger females.
“I hate to say it but as far as as elementary schools go it is possible for pedophiles to enter as teachers and do as they please,” says a veteran instructor. “Even at my school, teachers making students change into gym clothes or swimwear for no need has been a problem.”
The magazine speculates that the reported number of incidents, all of whom involved male teachers, represents the tip of the iceberg. It also believes that many female teachers are committing such crimes.
“I would guess that there are many cases of single female teachers targeting middle school boys,” says a member of a board of education.
The cases do not emerge due to privacy concerns.
“The cross-examination of a student (in court) would be difficult,” continues the board of education source.
The magazine says that the smartphone application Line is facilitating the crimes. In January, a board of education in Saitama Prefecture banned students and teachers from communicating via Line and email.
“A lot of children use Line,” says IT journalist Toshiyuki Inoue. “Plus, you’ve got a lot of people in their 50s who are adept at using the stamping feature. So there is this sense of intimacy that has been created between adults and children.”
What can be done?
“Some municipalities considering putting counter measures in place, such as the implementation of screenings,” an education ministry official says.
But Shukan Bunshun would prefer if more comprehensive actions were taken — and soon.
Source: “Waisetsu de kako saita no shobun-su fue tsudzukeru ‘rorikon kyoin,’” Shukan Bunshun (March 26, page 53)