And the local Osaka saga continues... From The Mainichi Daily News, 3/25/12:
A 61-year-old male teacher who refused to stand up during the singing of the "Kimigayo" national anthem at a graduation ceremony at an Osaka prefectural high school in February has been notified that his services are no longer required, local education officials said Saturday.
The teacher, who had been rehired by the school after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 60, was highly evaluated by the school principal, who gave him the second highest competence rating. Nonetheless, he became the first teacher to be effectively sacked among a group of teachers at public high schools in Osaka Prefecture who were reprimanded earlier this month for similar behavior, a civic group said.
Accusing the prefectural education board of using the dismissal as a warning to others, the group opposes the compulsory gesture of respect for the Hinomaru national flag and the Kimigayo, which critics say symbolizes Japan's past imperialism and militarism. It plans to hold a meeting next week to consider filing a lawsuit over a series of punishments for teachers over the matter.
The issue stems from an ordinance that obliges teachers and school staff to stand and sing the Kimigayo. It was approved last June by the Osaka prefectural assembly to develop a spirit of patriotism among students, when current Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto was governor.
The teacher concerned, who was rehired last April, had been informally told in February that he could keep his position for the coming academic year, but on Monday received a written notice from the education board that the arrangement was being terminated. He is considering filing a complaint with the prefectural personnel committee, he and others said.
Among those reprimanded, seven other teachers were expecting to be rehired next April, but the education board said it is now considering what to do with them.
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