Japanese Teachers Jailed for Negligence

Thu May 30 2024
icon-facebook icon-twitter icon-whatsapp

TOKYO, Japan: Three Japanese teachers were each sentenced to two years in jail on Thursday for negligence during a 2017 mountaineering trip in which seven students were killed in an avalanche.

A spokesman at a court in the central Tochigi region confirmed that the three former and current teachers were found guilty of professional negligence resulting in injury and death.

The avalanche, triggered by heavy snow, claimed the lives of seven high school students and a teacher during a three-day expedition to Tochigi’s Mount Chausu in March 2017. Additionally, 40 others were injured on the mountain located 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of Tokyo.

Throughout the trial, the key point of contention was whether the avalanche could have been predicted. The Utsunomiya District Court ruled on Thursday that it was “sufficiently foreseeable” and faulted the defendants for failing to conduct proper research, according to broadcaster TBS.

Prosecutors argued that the amount of snowfall should have served as a warning for the teachers, stating that better safety measures could have saved the students’ lives, as reported by several media outlets.

In contrast, the defence sought acquittals for the teachers by asserting that they had no means of predicting the snowslide.

In October 2017, a third-party panel investigating the tragedy attributed it in part to complacency and a “lack of crisis-management awareness” among the supervisors.

icon-facebook icon-twitter icon-whatsapp