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Back when I was applying for my first Japanese work visa, there was a thick stack of paperwork I had to submit. Most of the items made sense, but one that struck me as weird, though, was my college diploma. I knew that Japanese law required a college education for the visa I was applying for, but wouldn’t sealed, authenticated transcripts make more sense than a personal diploma, which could be easily forged for 20 bucks at any print shop, or even with a high quality home-use printer?

Nope, I was informed, it had to be the diploma. That’s the paperwork they give you when you graduate, right? After all, from the standpoint of honest and by-the-book Japanese society, who would be so dishonest as to provide false educational credentials?

How about a man in Osaka, who taught junior high school for 15 years without ever obtaining his teaching credential.

The Osaka Board of Education announced on February 21 that it is terminating the employment of one of its instructors. The 45-year-old former social studies teacher has admitted to forging his teaching certificate. “I was always worried that I was going to be caught soon,” said the man, whose name has not been released.

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The terminated teacher says that prior to beginning his tenure he had told a number of acquaintances that he was going to become a teacher. However, he failed to graduate from college, much less pass the test required to become a licensed educator. Undaunted, the man applied for a job teaching in Osaka. Since he knew he would be asked to produce a copy of his teaching certificate if the interview process went well, he borrowed the paperwork from a friend who had obtained the certification, using it to create a forgery with his own name and date of birth.

The trickery went unnoticed, and the man began a teaching career that would span 15 years at four different Osaka municipal middle schools. It wasn’t until last month that his transgression came to light during the renewal process for his certification. He once again submitted his falsified documentation, but when the paperwork was checked against the electronic database, the clerk discovered that the certificate number was already registered to another teacher. The man was then questioned about the discrepancy, and subsequently admitted to his past wrongdoing.

Aside from releasing the man from his position, the Osaka Board of Education is currently consulting with criminal investigators about the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the man for repayment of his illicitly earned wages, and there’s also a chance he’ll have to face charges for forgery and violating the instructor licensing system.

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The one silver lining to the embarrassing incident is a statement from the Board asserting that the graduations of students taught by the fraudulent educator will be upheld.

A representative from Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology was astonished by the revelation, saying: “We’ve never heard of someone going 15 years without a license.” We imagine the ousted teacher’s newfound notoriety will have him firmly entrenched in the organization’s memory from now on, and encourage him not to seek his next job in one of the several fields that fall under the Ministry’s jurisdiction.

“Sir, please step over to the sideline and show us your license.”
“Ah no, not again!”

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Source: Yahoo! Japan
Top image: Nagano Seisen Junior and Senior High
Insert images: Blogspot, Mutsumi Junior High, Hyogo Park