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5 Osaka teachers fined for sneaking off to smoke


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Cripes! Hashimoto can't have it both ways. If people can't smoke anywhere on the school premises, they have to go somewhere else. Sheesh.

11 ( +15 / -7 )

Good they are being paid to work not smoke.

During their breaks if they are smoking with-in sight of the school and the kids they should be fined and punished severely.

Smoking is a personal choice which has been proven again and again to be significantly harmful the smoker and the people who are around the smoker, its time to start aggressively outlawing this anti-social harmful behaviour.

There is no excuse, smoking is unlike all the other usual comparisons that smokers pull out, if I drink alcohol next to you with-in the law it doesn't effect you maybe me if I overdo it regularly, if I eat junk food next to you it doesn't effect you but maybe me if I overdo it.. but smoking, you are ruining the very air I require to live.

-10 ( +9 / -17 )

presumambly NZ that will also apply to having a drink of tea whilst at work? Or using the toilet?

Your argument makes no sense and offends reason.

7 ( +12 / -6 )

btw I am working, right now at a public NZ school and shall just dip outside for a quick durrie - my choice, no biggie!

4 ( +8 / -4 )

It only offends your reasoning for your habit.

Drinking liquids and using the toilet firstly don't affect other people and are basic human rights anywhere..

Its not the same thing and you know it.

Im not saying you can't smoke, just saying don't do it in or near the school where the kids can see, teachers are suppose to be role models and unfortunately in NZ for many kids the only decent one they have.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Smoking is ones own choice, its their freedom. But then please go smoke somewhere were you dont bother us nonsmokers. Sick of walking behind salaryman smoking like a steamtrain or people lighting up their cigarettes while they are still in the building.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Now.. if it was their lunch break and they were at the local cafe in the smoking section.. then smoke it up.

But the article says sneaking out the front gate between lessons, not caught having a cigarette somewhere where the school has no jurisdiction.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

If they were nipping out for a quick ciggie between lessons, they were going back inside and emptying their smoke-laden lungs into the air the kiddies had to breathe (It takes up to half an hour for all the smoke to leave the lungs after a ciggie). And they would be reeking of the stuff, subliminally teaching kids that if Sir does it, we can too. Not fit to be teaching kids.

If they cannot break their addiction, then move them into some sphere of employment where they are not around kids.

-14 ( +6 / -19 )


Your inability to spell "affect" annoys the hell out of me, but I wouldn't call for you to be banned from posting.

And who said that the teachers were smoking "...where the kids can see,"? That's just your imagination.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@lucabrasi affect 1 |əˈfɛkt| verb [ trans. ] have an effect on; make a difference to : the dampness began to affect my health.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Book em Danno!

I'm all for eradicating smoking.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

As a non-smoker I detest the smell of smoke, however the smokers have every right to light up as long as they don't offend others in the process. My friends are welcome to smoke at my house, out on the balcony, and are expected to take the remnants with them when they leave. This puritanical rule is ridiculous.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Hashimoto didn't come up with this rule - he's just the first one who is following it. I remember when I first worked at public schools in Osaka and they had the smoking sofa IN the teacher's room. Then that got banned and they went behind the school, then off the ground. If Hashi is going to come down on the teachers, why isn't he coming down on city hall staff that can be found outside the building next to the river lighting up? Why isn't he raising the fines for those caught on Midosuji. He has an axe to grind with teachers because they know what a snake he is.

I don't think teachers should smoke but if he's going to fine THESE government workers, he better be fining ALL government workers who are smoking while on the clock. Perhaps this is the way Osaka will get out of debt?

And who were the snakes that reported them? Wow, hostile work environment or what?

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Yes, you have freedoms and smoking is legal in some places, however I believe your freedoms stop as soon as they begin to impinge on mine. For example, you freedom to punch into the air stops just before my face.

I'm generally quite an open minded guy however having watched one Grandfather and two uncles (one of whom barely smoked and the doctors thought was most likely passive smoking from my Grandfather) pass away from your "choice" it's one topic where I can't see any place for compromise, if your going to smoke do it away from other people, especially kids.

So I will now bow out of this debate as clearly there is a quite significant emotional bias for me.

I just hope Japan will catch up with the rest of the world on the regulation of smoking, though as long as the government is a large owner in Japan tobacco I guess I have no choice but to hold my breath....

2 ( +6 / -4 )

500,000 yen! Woah! That's a bit draconian.

I'm all for banning smoking in places like restaurants where people want to enjoy their meals but this is going a bit too far. I agree that teachers can/might be perceived as role models so they should be careful of the influence they may be having on their students but at the same time, smoking is THEIR choice (everyone has the right to pollute his/her own lungs if that is what they wish to do) and I know a lot of smokers who want to quit but as an ex-smoker I can tell you, IT'S NOT EASY at all. Instead of landing them with a hefty fine, they should make them take a long, drawn-out boring torturous 'seminar' on the dangers of smoking (like the ones you have to take at the driving center when you lose points).

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If it's BETWEEN lessons, then I agree, save for perhaps the extended lunch period after lunch duties have been finished. Anyway, this is one thing I agre with Hashimoto on (again, though, they should be allowed out on extended breaks), and I'm glad someone's FINALLY cracking down on smoking laws. Now let's see Hashimoto do the same for people smoking in non-smoking areas.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

They were not on school grounds, so is fining them legal?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

el dictator strikes again. soon, they will all have to have the same hair cut and wear a uniform. personal freedom? fuggedabowtit!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Unless they are banned from leaving the school grounds I can't see how they did anything wrong if they were on their break / free time.

2 ( +2 / -0 )


There is no excuse, smoking is unlike all the other usual comparisons that smokers pull out, if I drink alcohol next to you with-in the law it doesn't effect you maybe me if I overdo it regularly, if I eat junk food next to you it doesn't effect you but maybe me if I overdo it.. but smoking, you are ruining the very air I require to live.

Based on that rationale, should we assume that you advocate bans on all motor vehicles, factories, lawn mowers and the many other things that pollute your air?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

All readers back on topic please. From here on, posts that do not focus on the story will be removed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nothing wrong with smoking on your break time, off the school grounds no less. The anti-smoking people really have no respect for other people's right to a cig.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

So Osaka teachers are now not allowed to smoke, not allowed to get drunk (public official) and not allow to have any tattoo's.... what is the next thing of list not able to do?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

There is more to this story than is being reported here I'll bet.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Is it legal for employers to "fine" employees? I know sports teams do, when players don't turn up for training etc, but if a teacher carries out his/her duties properly in the classroom and staff room, then it's difficult to see a legal basis for withholding due payment.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

gogogo: They're not allowed to smoke ON SCHOOL GROUNDS and/or BETWEEN LESSONS. I've been in Japanese schools before, and as it is the teachers always head to class after, sometimes WELL after, the bell. I can just see them huffing and puffing once the bell rings to rush back to the teachers room, then head to class. Even though most students also don't head to class until the bell (monkey see, monkey do), it's a waste of time, and I bet those who head off the grounds for a ciggie are later than those who do not.

I agree Hashimoto seems to target schools and teachers more than anything in his fascist crusade, but when it comes to smoking I agree him. After all, smoking on school grounds was actually banned 11 years ago, as it was with other public offices, but it has never been enforced. Instead of smoking in the staff rooms they went to the 'resting room' or smoked on the balconies. City offices merely made a smoking corner, usually set within the double doors or one of the lesser used entrance/exits. It's a refreshing change to see that someone is actually enforcing the law and trying to protect others from second hand smoke. That is just PART of Hashimoto's action here, of course (part being to get teachers to class instead of wasting time).

For those saying 'if smoking should be banned we should ban cars' please stop being so silly. I mean, if you REALLY want to make such ridiculous allusions let me ask you, do teachers get in their cars and drive on the school grounds during their break time? I'm sure that would be a no-no as well.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Who told on them?

Typical sneak attack.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

People who smoke around non-smokers are one of the most ignorant type of people on this planet.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

I don't smoke but I'm all for smoking. Let em have at it. We can't afford as a society to have people living to ripe old ages. Smoke...die early.....decrease the surplus population, please. Oh...and eat tons of junk food, too.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

500,000 yen... For that price I hope they each stuck the entire pack in their mouths and lit up.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The government encourages smoking to collect the taxes in order to educate people not to smoke which causes stress and increased smoking. Smoking also decreases the life expectancy of retired people so it wins both ways.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Well, smoking was banned in all Japanese schools five or six years ago. However, I think their fines are quite excessive and I am sure there is more to this than just ducking out for one quick ciggy.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Something tells me they are thinking about getting legal help but on the other hand, complaining would go against their records as teachers and they'd be blacklisted.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

smoking is banned at our university too, but there are several places on the campus where it's allowed to smoke. they should do the same at that school, set up a smoking room for those in need and problem solved. I don't smoke and I'm against smoking in public places, but I do think that smokers also have the right of a smoking perimeter that doesn't disturb the non-smokers

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Here in Tokyo, near my hood, I saw the nastiest, dirtiest oyaji TEACHER, with his sweatpants falling off his dirty ass and saying OHAYO to all the high boys and girls and he was SMOKING right there in the entrance to the school! What a lovely role model! I wanted to spit in his dirty face! My taxes are paying for these scum oyajis to ??? Pervert even more the next future of Japan??

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

That's just crazy. I'd fight as a teacher on grounds of manipulation of personal freedom before throwing out half a million. I don't see this to hold up in court. Smoking is a lifestyle that is heavily taxed. Does anyone have numbers on how many billions of Yen in taxes are collected annually? Btw, the fine is 5,000 Yen I believe but not banned on all streets in Japan.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

NZ...your an idiot! I am a non-smoker and I hate the smell of smoke but these people are adults and have the right to smoke. Please stay away from me as i think you are more toxic than cigarettes!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Regardless of who is right and wrong, I think 500,000 is excessive to the extreme. That would have to be more than one month`s pay am I correct? I would mind betting that penalty would put someone to financial hardship. Verbal reprimand, made to write the letter of reflection whatever, but 500,000? That is pure madness.

And as for by-laws banning smoking on the streets, they are an absolute joke. When they first appeared there was a big song and dance with the guys being shown on TV giving people the fines. But since then (where I live in Tokyo anyway), people smoke where ever they want. The signs aren`t effective and you never see the inspectors close to the station. A thoroughly toothless and unenforced law.

3 ( +4 / -1 )


They're not allowed to smoke ON SCHOOL GROUNDS and/or BETWEEN LESSONS.

They were not on school grounds and if they are on free / break time, unless they are not allowed to leave the school grounds for whatever reason they should have the legal human right to be able to smoke should they wish.

If the title of the news says "sneaked off" but like all the offices I work for the smokers goto the street or somewhere else where they wont bother non smokers, they have used the word "sneak" here wrong. Being a teacher is a job, all jobs have basic human rights.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Indeed, there probably is more to the story. Same teachers who belong to a union who doesn't like Hashi? Same teachers who won't sing the anthem?

And indeed, what is the basis of the fine, smoking during work hours? As I said, if that is the case, Hashi just needs to look out his office to see the number of government workers smoking on the tax payers dime. He won't dare though. He likes to bully certain groups - teachers being the main one.

What was the thing about him crying about privacy?! Teachers are legally entitled to breaks so...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Well, they did say the price of smoking was going to increase...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hey,m teacher, leave us smokers alone!!! Usually it is kids who get punished for having a quick one behind the bike sheds.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The teachers at my high school smoked, and they stank of cigaret smoke in class. One of my professors at college in the US used to smoke/slurp a pipe in class. Role model? Gross. They put me off smoking.

Peer pressure, especially by inner-social group leaders, has to be a much stronger form of role model.

As to these five hapless teachers, give them a break or even a warning first. That fine is way OTT.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Cleo, while I can agree with your line of thinking, what about parents who smoke? Surely they're more if a role model so why not fine them as well. Again, what us the basis for the fine? Teachers are entitled to breaks, teachers are allowed to leave school grounds. What rule was broken here?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What EXACTLY were they smoking?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

When in doubt, look at the local press.

According to Nikkansports, it was 5 teachers and 2 clerical staff, and their 'crime' was 職務専念義務違反 - lack of devotion to service, ie skiving off work. They left their post during working hours (ie they were not in their break time) and the 'fine' was calculated as the proportion of time they should have been at their post and working, and weren't - the amount of money they had been paid that they hadn't actually earned. Not all the teachers were docked 500,000 yen.

The article points out that before and after the start of the school day and during the lunch break, staff are allowed to leave the school grounds, but the rest of the time they are supposed to be working even if they are not teaching, or between lessons. There had been complaints from local residents about the smokers hanging around outside the school during working hours, and threats to send pictures of the offenders to the press.


Question for the 'smokers have rights too' brigade - does smoking entitle people to more pay for less work? If so, why?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

what about parents who smoke? Surely they're more if a role model

Yes they are, and if I were not such a peacenik I would say they deserved a good hefty smack up the back of the head with an oxygen canister each time they lit up. The bigger punishment though is the likelihood that they will not see their grandchildren grow.

Teachers are entitled to breaks, teachers are allowed to leave school grounds. What rule was broken here?

According to the article I linked to, they are not allowed to leave school premises except at lunchtime. Basically, they were skiving and so frequently and blatantly that it caught the eye of local residents.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Question for the 'smokers have rights too' brigade - does smoking entitle people to more pay for less work? If so, why?

No, it doesn't. I reckon the smokers at my office, who seem to ride the elevator down to the outside smoking area at least once and hour for a good 15 minutes or so, do less work than I and are not paid less. I agree there. But the real eye-opener in this story is not that they were busted, but that this infraction -- something that would not even be arrestable, by the way -- is valued at 500,000 yen. That is more than a speeding ticket, which is not only in the criminal code but poses a real danger to the public. There are all sorts of fines I can think of that are way cheaper than this, but that actually address a serious problem, potential risk, etc. A solution I think would have been to just reprimand the teachers. if as you say their true crime was not working when they should have been, then fire their butts.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

At the high school I teach at (private), the smoking teachers don't leave the grounds. After getting kicked out of the school maybe 3 years ago, they set up a smoking area in one of the bicycle parking shelters next to the staff parking lot.

2 ( +2 / -0 )


Usually it is kids who get punished for having a quick one behind the bike sheds.

And then a smoke together afterwards.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The high school I went to back in the day had a designated smoking area for students, even though it was illegal for people of their age to smoke, to keep them from running away to smoke and missing class entirely.

Kids would run out in the 10 minutes before class and puff one down real quick.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well in that case, Hashi better start looking at what's happening in the building he's working in. The whole office lifestyle in Japan is workers screwing around until 5:00 for the most part. Teachers among one if the only groups I know who actually work during their working hours.

And the public complaint... Yep. I remember the ruckus raised in Osaka about 10 years ago when gasp, teachers took their cars to work while claiming transportation. Pictures WERE forwarded. Some folks need to get a life and mind their own business. Perhaps Hashi would like to hire them to rat out city hall workers screwing around during work?

He's such a bully.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Diktat indeed.

Two good posts from Cleo after a nonstarter. (Residual smoke in the lungs? Honestly!) But skiving is skiving.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think the main issue here was the fact that the teachers left the school grounds during a schoolday, which is unprofessional at best.

While cigarette packets carry mandatory warnings of the health risks and there are public information campaigns, they are not as prominent as in other rich countries and the percentage of Japanese who smoke is comparatively high.

They need to make it clearer, just state how dangerous in terms that people would now understand better:

"Smoking a pack a week does more harm than 75mSv/yr, smoking a pack a day is worse than living inside Reactor 4!"

That would probably get people to quit (or shut up protestors, don't know which), and it's more than true just taking cancer into account (ignoring heart disease and others). They just need to keep it simple, none of this multi-kanji jumble of medical terms nobody reads and some actually can't.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

"Smokin' in the boys' room" ...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Well, smoking was banned in all Japanese schools five or six years ago. However, I think their fines are quite excessive and I am sure there is more to this than just ducking out for one quick ciggy.

I agree, there has to be more behind this than we are reading here. I am curious, were these 5 guys together? Were their cases separate? What were the school's policies regarding teachers leaving the grounds during work hours? Did these guys get permission to leave the grounds? Were warnings given?

There are more questions than answers here right now to me.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Residual smoke in the lungs? Honestly!)

Honest. Saw it on the telly, they were stickin' it to self-rightous 'fireflies' who come in off the balcony and straight away start to play with their kids - the kids had smoke in their lungs. There was a doc showing with charts an' all that smoking dads need to stay out on the balcony for at least half an hour after stubbing the fag out.

I am curious, were these 5 guys together? Were their cases separate? What were the school's policies regarding teachers leaving the grounds during work hours? Did these guys get permission to leave the grounds? Were warnings given?

The link I gave (sorry, it's in Japanese) gives the answers. There were 7, not 5; the 7 were questioned, and the amount of time they spent puffing and not working was calculated individually; school rules say no leaving the premises except at lunchtime; if they had permission (who from? Hashimoto? Unlikely....) there would be no case to answer. Their treatment constitutes being let off with a reprimand; after all, they still have their jobs even after skiving off to the tune of enough hours to equal up to a month's pay.

In addition to the smokers, the article mentions a public worker who ran a jazz bar during working hours; who went shopping during working hours and claimed expenses for transport there and back; and who made a habit of taking his subordinates out to a coffee shop during office hours. They all got much heavier penalties than the smokers.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Looks like there's a gaggle of pro-Japan Tobacco lobbyists here.

Facts are simple:

These people were fined for leaving school, not for smoking outside the school.

These people decreased the safety of the school by disregarding their duties as teachers to remain on campus in the case of an emergency.

These people continually harm their students through traces of chemicals left over from smoking.

Smoking is dangerous, and expected to kill a hundred thousand people a year even with the best modern care, including non-smokers exposed to smoke released by people like these five.

There is no "right to smoke", and in fact most countries recognize the right to not have smoke blown in your face.

Just 1.4 cigarettes is expected to add 1 deaths per million individuals, the same as flying 2500 miles, total deaths a year are in the tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands.

Japanese government ignores scientific research on the subject because the state owns a controlling share of Japan Tobacco (which produces good tax profits, but far lower than it needs to offset the increase in healthcare costs)

0 ( +3 / -3 )

NZ2011 You are so right.

I just registered on Japan Today for the sole purpose of agreeing with you.

Salaries are paid for work done, not time spent smoking.

Smoking during working hours is stealing from your employer.

Smokers have every right to smoke ... on their own time, in their own space ... so that they are not giving me cancer.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

500,000 yen is excessive. I imagine that's close to a month or 2 of take home pay. I wonder if these teachers didn't succumb to the tattoo search.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tobacco was one of America's big exports back in the colonial days. Virginia was one of the biggest tobacco exporters. Since "Big Tobacco" lost that court case that proved they had been "spiking" the plants by breeding them to be especially addictive, you don't hear too much about "smoker's rights" here in Virginia anymore even though it was a major cash crop. To use tobacco products (of ANY kind) by ANYBODY and at anytime on public school grounds is prohibited by the Commonwealth's Department of Education. 20 years ago, I would have never believed that sort of thing would have been possible. I know of a football coach who was disciplined for having a can of chew in his back pocket and the shape of the can could be determined.

And yet for all the inconveniences and hassles, there's still a ton of smokers here. That right there is proof-positive that smokers are addicted. When the habit is taxed heavily and you're made to satisfy your habit out in the cold of Winter and you STILL do it, then you're addicted.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

NZ2011 and basroil are right on the money regarding the "rights" of smokers. Cleo, too. Lots of JT "lost in a cancer cloud of denial" types hitting the thumbs down. I feel sorry for them. Personally, I wish teachers who smoked were fired if they did not stop immediately. Bad example to kids and too many negatives to list. And, yes, I resent working while watching smokers disappear to feed their addiction. There is no such thing as "a quick cigarette" as that "quick time" is times many cigs/day.

First time ever I agreed with basroil, btw. ;->

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I hate smoking and I am so glad it is removed from the school grounds..but this punishment is too much. The school I work at many teachers get to school at 7:00 and leave after 7:30. Weekends are spent doing club activities... They practically live at school. It is not uncommon to see teachers taking a short nap at their desk. At least the smoking teachers are conscious. If I was fined.. I would only work my contract hours. ... go home at 5.00 ... say no to club activities and four day 24hr school trips.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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