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JTB apologizes for employee's bogus letter to cancel school field trip

30 Comments

Officials of travel agency JTB's Chubu office in Gifu Prefecture apologized at a news conference on Tuesday over an employee who forgot to make the proper arrangements for buses required for a high school field trip.

The employee wrote a letter to the school pretending to be a student and requesting that the field trip not occur in an effort to cover up for his mistake. He said in the letter that if school officials didn't cancel the trip, he would commit suicide, TBS reported Wednesday.

The trip was canceled after the buses didn't show up on April 25. The JTB employee showed up and apologized for not arranging the buses.

JTB Chubu officials told a news conference that the 30 year-old man working at the Tajimi branch in Gifu Prefecture, was in charge of making arrangements for a total of 11 buses intended to transport students on a school outing. However, the day before the trip, the employee realized that he had completely forgotten to make proper arrangements. Hoping to prevent any of his superiors from finding out about his mistake, the employee wrote the bogus letter to the school pretending to be a student.

JTB officials visited the school on Monday to apologize. The field trip has been rescheduled for next week.

A JTB spokesman said. "The employee believed he could hide his mistake if he could make sure the trip didn't go ahead," TBS reported.

JTB said it will punish the employee responsible.

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30 Comments
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JTB said it will punish the employee responsible.

Punish :)

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Only in Japan...

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Punish? How about you fire him?? This is why Japan is the way it is. You can't fire the dead wood and the jerks.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

What a cruel thing to do. This 'man' should be fired, made to pay for the rescheduling and arrested for sending a threatening letter to the school.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

These things happen, admit the mistake, compensate and move on.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

These things happen, admit the mistake, compensate and move on.

For the company? I agree. However, for the employee, this was not something that just happened. He called a school and threatened suicide if the trip was not cancelled. He should be severely punished for this.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Imagine what the teachers thought when they learned that a student was thinking of suicide. They probably spent hours in meeting thinking of what student wrote the letter. Teaching was probably put on the back burner for a few hours. That employee should be fired and arrested. JTB should compensate the teachers and students for the lack of morals in their employee.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

How is this man still able to stay at this company/ For his good, he should be fired. If he isn't, he probably wouldn't resign himself. He'll learn from this and in a little while no one will no what he did at his old job.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

JTB said it will punish the employee responsible.

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This means he will be fired. JTB can not trust him anymore. Fired in Japanese is "kubi ni shita" So, when firing, words come lukewarmly. Anther word is "kakushu".

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The guy is completely crazy. And not very smart. Even if the schools had canceled, they'd have paid cancelation fees that JTB had to give to bus companies, so his mistake would have been seen,

what the teachers thought

Interesting question. They have not canceled the trip. Nothing says whether the school felt concerned. Did they even let the teachers and PTA know about the letter ? The persons that received it couldn't know immediately that was a fake.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sh.t happens and nobody needs to know if this guy will be punished or not. The failure is from JTB, period!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Yeah, he should be arrested for the threatening letter. Not good. And not good to let it go unpunished. There will be copycats.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

JTB said it will punish the employee responsible

Punish?????-- for using a real social problem, suicide among school children, to cover his a@@. Great corporate culture at JTB.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

frenchosaApr. 30, 2014 - 08:09PM JST

That employee should be fired and arrested. JTB should compensate the teachers and students for the lack of morals in their employee.

Arrested? What on earth should he be arrested for? Causing concern for a person that doesn't exist? As far as I know, threatening to commit suicide is not illegal. Things would be different mind you, if he used a bomb threat...

"Compensation for the lack of morals"????? My goodness, this is exactly the type of reaction from the "western" culture that is misunderstood and taken to the extreme in a place like Japan. How on earth do you compensate for "lack of morals"? If anything, the school MIGHT ask for compensation for the time everyone wasted in showing up for the trip, and that's if the school is hard up for cash...

More importantly, from a technical standpoint, this bonehead screwed up the trip, and if I were the customer, I'd be demanding that not only he be replaced (of course), but that fundamental changes/improvements be made in the trip preparation process. What he did was weird, but deserving of criminal punishment? I don't think so. Punishment from JTB for screwing up a job, and using a pathetic excuse to try and cover up? Yes.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Just ridiculous

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

What on earth should he be arrested for?

He threatened suicide if the school did not cancel the trip. It is illegal to threaten people with violence, even if that violence later turns out to be false. It is the same as if you took a plastic gun in the school and made the same threat.

What he did was weird, but deserving of criminal punishment?

Yes, it is. Threatening violence if actions are not done is illegal.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

This guy has the mentality of a grade-schooler! Seriously, what's wrong with these people?!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

well, JTB should keep this idiot, only to raise the self esteem for other employees. Give him a janitor job, or something...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This sound like an act by a mind of a 13 year-old, not a grown up. How do people manage to be so immature is beyond me. So he made a mistake, a fairly big one. Instead of acting like a responsible person, this kid (come on, this guy definitely reads manga with an open mouth) made things worse for himself and the school kids/staff by lying about being a suicidal student.

Good hiring there, JTB. Bet there are many more like him, hired en masse directly from uni, without any real life experience whatsoever.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I talked to two members of the board of education of the city that I work for and both thought the JTB should be arrested.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most of the comments focused on the incompetent and dishonest man, but JTB isn't free of responsibility. After all he is a JTB employee.

JTB can't even confirm that buses have been contracted. Being one of the largest companies in this industry, it shows a lack of professionalism and competence. JTB screwed up.

Where JTB failed to provide the buses, the man threatened a suicided with the aim of canceling a school trip. There must be an article in the Civil Code for disrupting or attempt to obstruct activities of educational institutions. This is where the man is liable.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

slumdogMay. 01, 2014 - 10:22AM JST

He threatened suicide if the school did not cancel the trip. It is illegal to threaten people with violence, even if that violence later turns out to be false. It is the same as if you took a plastic gun in the school and made the same threat.

Again, who did he threaten? I'm assuming the letter was written anonymously, so you're saying he posed as an imaginary person who threatened to kill himself and hurt no one else? Odds are, if you're going to submit a suicide threat letter in this situation, you're going to make it anonymous. If he submitted the letter using the name of one of the students, then the school staff would immediately contact that students parents, make that kid stay home, and go on with the trip which would defeat the purpose of the letter which was to postpone or cancel the trip. Now, I do admit, this is based on the assumption that the letter submitted was anonymous, because if it were in the name of a specific student, then maybe this could be taken as a threat, but I don't think he would have been that stupid.

Threatening violence if actions are not done is illegal.

If you read my post, something like a bomb threat would definitely be threatening violence upon a group of people. But have you ever heard of someone getting arrested after attempting to jump off a tall building? Let alone a completely fabricated person?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

They'll call the guy into the office and say "As for your job, it's a bit..."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Again, who did he threaten?

He threatened the school. He threatened the school with a violent action if the school did not submit to his demands.

so you're saying he posed as an imaginary person who threatened to kill himself and hurt no one else?

But, if the school does not know it is not a real person, then the threat is considered real. Just as someone with a plastic gun is considered to have a real one until proven otherwise.

This man used the threat of taking his own life to coerce the school into cancelling the trip. This is illegal. It does not matter that the person turns out to not have existed.

But have you ever heard of someone getting arrested after attempting to jump off a tall building?

This man did not just claim that he was going to kill himself. He used it to coerce the school into action. He used the threat of violence against himself to force the school to cancel the trip. This is illegal.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Tahoochi I think you are completely in the wrong here and slumdog has it right.

"Compensation for the lack of morals"????? My goodness, this is exactly the type of reaction from the "western" culture that is misunderstood and taken to the extreme in a place like Japan."

I am not sure what this has to do with Western culture. A teacher received a letter suggesting one of his students is actually thinking of committing suicide. There is not a culture in the world where a teacher receiving such a letter will not experience mental anguish. I do not know much about Japanese law, but I recall numerous stories were people has been compensated after someone caused them psychological distress. Are you suggesting causing someone psychological distress or mental anguish is a Western concept that is not recognized in Japan? I don't think that's true.

"But have you ever heard of someone getting arrested after attempting to jump off a tall building?"

Again, you have the wrong end of the stick. We are not talking about someone attempting to jump of a building, we are talking about someone pretending to be someone about to jump off a building. Do you think these situations are the same?

A real student threatening suicide would not be punished as the undoubted psychological distress they cause the teacher receiving the letter is outweighed by our compassion for the student and because a real suicidal student is obviously, and quite literally, not in their right mind.

Neither of these mitigating factors applies to someone who is cynically manipulating people's emotions to try and cover a mistake at work. How you can confuse two such very different concepts?

Regarding arrest, I agree that it might be difficult as there is unlikely to be a law that foresees this specific circumstance. But since one of the objectives of legal punishment is to stamp out behavior that damages society, I think prosecutors would be justified in creatively finding an offense to fit the crime.

Do you really think egregious behavior of this nature should simply be allowed to slide?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

He threatened the school. He threatened the school with a violent action if the school did not submit to his demands.

slumdog: The threat of violent action wasn't towards anyone but himself. Technically, that's not a crime. As far as the school was concerned, if they thought anyone was in any real type of danger, they would have called the police instead of showing up on the day of the trip and waiting for the bus that never came.

Just as someone with a plastic gun is considered to have a real one until proven otherwise.

I absolutely agree with you on the plastic gun. My argument isn't whether the threat was fake or not, it's whether or not one person was threatening another, which would justify an arrest. But as far as I know, making someone believe that someone else is may commit suicide does not warrant an arrest, does it? I believe that's why this article is in the "National" news section, and not the "Crime" section of JT.

jpnguy: My original post was in response to frenchosa who implied the man should be arrested and the school should be compensated. I've already explained my argument regarding arrest to slumdog above.

As for compensation, if the man cannot be technically arrested, the school would have to file a law suit against him. I am not saying this is impossible, because actually, it's probably very possible. But what I am saying is why go to the trouble of tying up the court's time, wasting peoples' time (witnesses), and paying for a lawyer, all to accomplish what? Teach the guy a lesson? Get compensated for one day's worth of mental anguish? (even though the school staff showed up on the day of the trip without cancelling it)

...the objectives of legal punishment is to stamp out behavior that damages society

....if this is true, then why is it such a knee-jerk reaction for so many people to sue other people for monetary compensation??? People never used to sue people in Japan until the practice first became common in the "Western culture", and that's why I alluded to that. If he hasn't broken a law, and if there's no permanent damage (physical, mental, property, or otherwise), then how about settling things withou something as ugly as monetary compensation?

Do you really think egregious behavior of this nature should simply be allowed to slide?

No, fire him and explain to him that even though he didn't break the law, his actions were unforgivable and sub-human.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The threat of violent action wasn't towards anyone but himself. Technically, that's not a crime.

Actually, it is considered a crime under the Japanese criminal intimidation law.

But as far as I know, making someone believe that someone else is may commit suicide does not warrant an arrest, does it?

As I noted above, under Japanese law, coercing someone into action through fear is against the law. According to the news, the school is thinking of pressing charges with the police. So, we may yet see this man arrested for his crimes. Personally, I think he should be arrested to set an example to prevent others from imitating his crime and thinking they can get away with it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

under Japanese law, coercing someone into action through fear is against the law.

Coercing someone into action through fear of suicide??? I guess we'll see...

Personally, I think he should be arrested to set an example to prevent others from imitating his crime and thinking they can get away with it

Honestly, slumdog, how often does this happen? And remember, it's not a crime... yet.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Coercing someone into action through fear of suicide???

Yes, that was the intent of the letter written by the JTB staff: To coerce the school into cancelling the trip for fear that one of their students would commit suicide.

Honestly, slumdog, how often does this happen?

Probably not that often, yet. But you know how copy-cats get ideas. It certainly would not be the first time someone got an idea about a crime from the news and did it themselves.

And remember, it's not a crime... yet

Actually, it is a crime under the Japanese criminal intimidation law, as I pointed out above. Even if he has not yet been arrested for it, it is still a crime.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Slumdog: I think the "intimidation" in the intimidation law you are refering to means feeling threatened by the perpetrator himself. Your interpretation is a kind of a stretch.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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