Court suspends decertification of Japanese school over student abuse

This file photo from 2021 shows the Fukuoka District Court building in the southwestern Japanese city of the Chuo district of Fukuoka. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — A court has granted a temporary injunction to an immigration agency’s decision to strip a Japanese language school of its certification following an incident in which a former staff member physically restrained a student Vietnamese last October, the agency announced on Wednesday.

The injunction was issued by the Fukuoka District Court on September 30, and the Japan Immigration Services Agency said it would carefully review the court’s decision and respond appropriately.

On September 7, the agency withdrew certification from the Nishinihon International Education Institute in the southwestern city of Fukuoka after it discovered that the staff member had restrained the student for several hours using a chain and padlock wrapped around his belt.

The decision had the effect of prohibiting the school from accepting new students for the next five years.

The school argued that the staff member acted alone and not as a representative of the organization and filed a lawsuit in the Fukuoka court to have the agency’s decision completely overturned.

The staff member, who resigned following the incident, was referred to prosecutors on September 22 on suspicion of kidnapping and forcible confinement.

The decision to remove the language school from the agency’s list of approved establishments was the first of its kind since 2016, when stricter regulations on the industry were enforced.

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