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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Asian Beauty:Riona.Y | Tokyo to launch program to mentor teachers

Midcareer teachers in Tokyo will get a chance to polish their skills when the metropolitan government opens a training school next year allowing more experienced educators to impart their wisdom and expertise, Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education officials said Thursday.
Tokyo Kyoshi Dojo (Tokyo Teachers Dojo) will open its doors in April to teachers with five to 10 years of teaching experience.
In the program, 50 groups with eight members each will receive training from long-time educators.
While there are local boards of education elsewhere that have already implemented similar programs, the metropolitan board of education's is the largest of its kind, according to the board.
"We hope this program will serve a dual purpose--to improve the teaching skills of highly motivated young teachers and to have them pass on those skills," a board official said.
Four hundred of the 5,800 or so midcareer teachers from municipal primary and middle schools and metropolitan government-run high schools will be chosen for the two-year program based on recommendations by principals and other education officials.
The instructors will be 100 teachers ranging from their late 30s to 40s recommended by their wards' boards of education and other authorities.
The trainees will be put into groups organized by teaching specialty. In addition to basic subjects such as Japanese, mathematics and English, the groups will also cover music, arts and physical education.
The law for special regulations concerning educational public service personnel requires school teachers to undergo job training in their first and 10th years of employment.
In addition to the mandatory training, the metropolitan board started its own training program this academic year, which consists mainly of lectures open to the public and for teachers in the second to fourth years of their careers.
The training school will specialize in teaching skills to further brush up teachers' abilities after other training programs.
At the school, the trainees will watch their instructors teach a class once a month. The trainees also will observe each other in teaching situations.
The trainees will learn, for example, how to effectively use narration and how to make better use of the blackboard.
In addition, trainees will hold mock classroom lectures with other trainees acting as students. Group members will also use e-mail to share lecture plans and teaching advice.
The metropolitan board plans to designate those who finish the program with excellent results as mentors for newly employed teachers.
The metropolitan government will earmark about 80 million yen from next academic year's budget to cover transportation expenses for the trainees and to invite newcomers to the training school every year.

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Asian Beauty:Marie.J | Train driver faces boot over son's ride


A Tobu Railway Co. driver allowed his 3-year-old son into the driver's cabin on the Noda Line on Nov. 1 and may be fired as a result.
On Thursday, Tobu Railway said it was considering firing the driver.
A company spokesman said, "It's a serious violation of our rules to let an outsider into the driver's cabin, even though it was a family member."
But the railway firm later said it was "considering how to punish him," after receiving a flood of calls from the general public protesting the termination.
According to Tobu Railway, the man was driving a six-car local train, on which his wife, the son, and his 2-year-old daughter were traveling.
At one point, his son started knocking on the driver's cabin door. The driver opened the door when the train stopped at Minamisakurai Station in Saitama Prefecture to tell the boy to stop. But the boy entered the cab, sat down on the floor and started crying.
As the driver wanted to keep to the timetable, he started the train with his son in the cabin and drove the train to the next station, Kawama Staion in Chiba Prefecture, four minutes away, where he handed the boy over to his mother.

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Asian Beauty:Miwako.K | Supreme Court rules for 'curry poisoner' in libel case


The Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a 2002 ruling by the Osaka High Court that ordered publishing firm Shinchosha Co., a representative director and the former editor of weekly magazine Focus to pay 4.4 million yen in compensation to Masumi Hayashi, who was sentenced to death for murdering four people and sickening 63 others with poisoned curry in Wakayama in 1998.
However, the publisher and the others have been ordered to pay 2.2 million yen in compensation after the Supreme Court also ruled that a photograph of Hayashi they published had infringed on her reputation and emotional well-being.
The high court originally ruled against the publisher and others after they published a photograph of Hayashi wearing handcuffs and a rope around her waist and three illustrations of her in court that Hayashi, 44, claimed had infringed on her portrait rights.
In the Supreme Court ruling, presiding Justice Niro Shimada said the photograph was illegal, but that the illustrations--except for one also depicting a handcuffed Hayashi with a rope around her waist--were not inappropriate.
The Supreme Court ruled that the publisher and the others should pay her 2.2 million yen in compensation for publishing the photograph.
He then dismissed the high court's ruling and remanded the case concerning the illegal illustration to the lower court so it could review the compensation amount.
This is the first time the Supreme Court has ruled on the infringement of portrait rights.
In his ruling, Shimada said, "The defendant is responsible for paying compensation if the portrait exceeds the permission given by the person pictured after his or her social status and activities and the place, purpose or necessity of taking the photograph are taken into account."
The sneak shot of Hayashi taken at the Wakayama District Court in November 1998 appeared in Focus's May 26, 1999 issue.
After Hayashi filed the damages suit, the Aug. 25, 1999 issue of the magazine carried three illustrations under the title of "To Masumi Hayashi, who filed a suit against the magazine. What [reaction] do you have to these illustrations?"
Shimada said it was difficult to understand why the magazine found it necessary to take a photograph of Hayashi handcuffed and with a rope around her waist. He also mentioned the illegal way in which the photo was taken.

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Asian Beauty:Marin.O | Girl held over poisoning had chemical arsenal


A 16-year-old girl arrested on suspicion of attempting to poison her 47-year-old mother to death with thallium admitted to investigators she was in possession of about 30 chemicals, including toxic substances, according to police.
Shizuoka prefectural police had seized the chemicals from the girl's room. The girl, a first-year high school student in Izunokuni in the prefecture, reportedly knew the exact name of each chemical.
The chemicals include antimony potassium tartrate, which was used by Graham Young, the British killer whom she is said to have admired, to kill his stepmother along with thallium. The police suspect the girl tried to imitate Young's poisoning and obtained the chemicals for that purpose.

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