15% of teachers in Okinawa have experienced harassment

According to a survey conducted among teachers at pre-schools, elementary, and junior high schools by Okinawa Teachers’ Union last year, 15.8% of them had been subjected to power or sexual harassment by their superiors, and 22.8% of the teachers answered that they “had heard about harassment or had received advice about it.” The union says that results show that harassment is widespread at schools in Okinawa.

The survey was sent to about 6,000 teachers in Okinawa, and the union received 1,041 answers.

Specifically, a union representative pointed out comments stating, “Because there is an teacher evaluation system that affects one’s salary, we can say nothing if our superior threatens to lower the evaluation.” Based on this kind of comments, the union representative suggested the situation, in which the evaluation system can be used as power harassment to “threaten” teachers.

The Okinawa Education Bureau says, “Direction of municipal teachers is controlled by each municipality, and each municipality is trying to understand the facts of a given situation by hearing both sides of a defender and an offender.”

According to the education bureau, there were no harassment reports from any of the municipal education committees in 2016. The union representative says it might be because of an environment that even if a teacher is harassed, it would be difficult to show it.