Japanese nursery school teachers abuse infants repeatedly: local media

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TOKYO, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Teachers at a nursery school in the central Japanese prefecture of Shizuoka repeatedly physically and verbally abused infants in their care, local media reported Thursday.

According to the reports, three teachers at the school called Sakura Hoikuen, in Susono City, were found to have held one-year-olds in their care upside down in the air by their feet and threatened them with knives, among other abusive acts.

Local authorities said the repeated abuse of the infants occurred at the private nursery school between June and August this year.

The 15 cases of abuse may have come to light earlier, but the school made all of its staff sign a pledge vowing to keep silent on the matter, local reports said.

Municipal officials will file a criminal complaint alleging abuse against the teachers, reports said Thursday.

A day earlier, Susono Mayor Harukaze Murata told a press conference that the actions of the teachers constituted abuse.

"We consider this to be a case of abuse," Murata said.

The school had previously been asked by local officials in mid-August to provide a detailed account of the abuse inflicted on each child, but the school, including its head, kept silent on the accusations for three months, informed sources said.

Along with dangling the toddlers in the air upside down and brandishing knives at them, the abuse inflicted on the children also included removing their pants, local accounts cited city officials as saying.

The teachers have been reprimanded and are no longer at the school, while the school's head has received a pay cut, city officials said.

One father said on Thursday he was totally shocked by the revelations of abuse at his daughter's school.

He said that it was impossible to comprehend people carrying out such heinous acts.

He added that he would not be able to sleep imagining that such abusive acts could have been carried out on his one-year-old daughter. Enditem

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