Teacher Loses Student’s Passport For Trip, Netizens Outraged

A Japanese high-school student misses out on his school trip because the teacher lost his passport.

The final-year trip of Japanese high school is more than just a school trip: it’s a rite of passage. The “shuugaku ryokou” translates as a “field trip”, but usually they are held in the final year of elementary, middle, and high school, when the students and their teacher take a trip together for a few days to see a new place, or wander around a new city. For most students, the trip is the most anticipated event of the year, and for some its significance is so great, that the best memories of their school days will be eclipsed by the excitement of travelling somewhere with their school-friends.

While most final-year trips used to involve students going up to Tokyo to see the big city, or to Kyoto to get a glimpse of Heian Japan, now trips to the East Asian mainland are gaining popularity. So when Kawaguchi Technical High School announced that the students would go to Taiwan, one can only imagine the excitement. For safe-keeping, the teacher collected all the passports of his students. But then he lost one. Just one.

This article has tugged on the heart-strings of Japanese netizens, all of whom feel great sympathy for the boy who had to miss out on the trip. Many wonder exactly why only one passport went missing, with some pinpointing bullying as the potential cause of the incident.

From Sankei MSN News:

Teacher At Technical High School in Saitama Loses Student Passport, Student Can’t Go on Final-Year Trip

On February 4, the Saitama Prefecture Education Committee announced that a teacher in his 40s at Kawaguchi Technical High School had lost one out of the 28 passports he had gathered from the students in his class before they went on the school trip, resulting in one male student being unable to participate in the trip. The Education Committee are reviewing a punishment for the teacher, since ‘He took insufficient measures in keeping the passports’ and the desk in which he was storing the passports was not locked.

According to the committee, a school trip was planned in Taiwan from January 29 to February 1. It was decided that the teacher in charge of the trip would take care of everyone’s passports so that the students wouldn’t forget to bring them, and the teacher had been keeping half in a desk drawer in the staff room and the other half in a desk drawer in the teacher’s prep room.

The teacher noticed in late January that the boy’s passport was missing. He searched for it, but unable to find it he apologised to the student and his guardian the day before they were due to depart. The teacher still participated in the trip because he was to escort the students, but the student himself was unable to go, and attended school as usual while the rest of the class were away.

Comments from 2ch.net:

名無しさん@13周年:

Too sad.

名無しさん@13周年:

Is this another bullying story?(´・ω・`)

名無しさん@13周年:

Was the passport hidden?? By his classmates??

名無しさん@13周年:

Why did only one passport disappear?

名無しさん@13周年:

It’s a mistake to go abroad on a school trip in the first place.

名無しさん@13周年:

That’s no accident. Don’t you think the teacher just really hated this student? It’s not possible that only one passport would disappear.

名無しさん@13周年:

I guess he got the money he paid for the trip returned to him though.

名無しさん@13周年:

1. Bullying
2. A crime carried out by the boy himself because he didn’t want to go on the trip.
3. Passport was hidden by a ghost.

名無しさん@13周年:

It’s awful that they only let him know the day before…Does it take much time to have a passport re-issued? Would it have been impossible [to have it re-issued] from the time the teacher realised it was missing?

名無しさん@13周年:

Well, this much is obvious but from next year they should go back to looking after their own passports. That way, even if they forget the passport and can’t go on the trip they have no one else to blame.

まさかとはおもうが:

If it’s one of those steel office desks, and he put too many passports in the drawer, the passport could be caught in the frame of the desk, couldn’t it? I mean…the passport could still be in the desk drawer, right?

名無しさん@13周年:

For something as important as a passport, isn’t it the norm to keep them in the headmaster’s safe or something?

名無しさん@13周年:

So this kid went to school while everyone was away and did what? Essays?

名無しさん@13周年:

Why did only one passport go missing? Not possible.

名無しさん@13周年:

This is going to give him the worst memory of his life so far. I wonder if in the end the day will come when he can laugh about it?

名無しさん@13周年:

If it was me, I’d tell them to postpone the trip until another passport can be issued.

名無しさん@13周年:

Either the teacher lost it purposely, or the student hid it because he didn’t want to go, or it was hidden by other students who were bullying him…seems like there are no other possibilities.

名無しさん@13周年:

I’m sure everyone had a great time on this once-in-a-lifetime school trip, because Taiwan is pro-Japanese. This teacher probably had fun with everyone too, and it was a lovely memory for all concerned. Everyone except the boy.

名無しさん@13周年:

Looking forward to it days in advance, talking about how you can’t wait to go with friends, probably buying new clothes and shoes, and then the day before, to be told ‘You ain’t got no passport, so…’ If it were me, I’d cry. I’d lie and be like ‘Oh well, can’t be helped’, but then when I got home I’d bawl my eyes out in my bed.

名無しさん@13周年:

Could have been turned into a film if the plane had gone down and only the boy was saved from death.

名無しさん@13周年:

I just feel so sorry for the student who couldn’t go.

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  • monmon

    Doesn’t it take just a couple of weeks to get a new one? Why didn’t they just delay the trip then? Bunch of incompetents. It’s too cruel. (;-;)

    • besudesu

      Actually, it takes just a week to get a new one. I’m sure they could have done something. That’s probably why the teacher is getting reprimanded by the education board.

      • Kate

        Yeah that doesn’t make any sense. Maybe the teacher really hated that particular student, “lost” his passport, then refused to delay the trip for him to get a new one. There’s more to this story.

    • poko chan

      I don’t think that a Japanese school is flexible on a fixed schedule. They would rather choose a collective happiness than individual.

      • monmon

        My school wasn’t. Then again, I grew up in the countryside. City people (especially Tokyo) are crazy.

      • monmon

        Besides, to some people “collective happiness” means keeping everyone happy. Which would have been really simple in a situation such as this. It’s not like getting a new passport would have been such an inconvenience. Besides, you are stereotyping japanese people.

  • dim mak

    damn japan, u boring

    • besudesu

      Actually, I was a bit surprised that this article got so popular too. Doesn’t even seem like news. But then you have to understand how big a deal this final-year trip is. Everyone was so pissed at this teacher.

      • Paul M

        Well I leant something from this story at least. Seems like they do a similar thing in Korea as my niece, who’s in middle school now, went on her ‘school field trip’ and wanted new clothes, a new back pack and specifically New Balance training shoes just for the field trip.

    • besudesu

      (Also, I’m sure Japan will have something crazy to throw at us in no time).

    • csaocia

      why should japan entertain you? honky

    • Flora

      I find your statement wrong & offensive, but I still laughed.

  • bluesummers

    I can imagine 5 years down the track when he’s taking out a folder out of his desk, the passport falls out and he thinks “oh, fuck me”.

  • jcyin

    So typical of jap mentality. No flexibility or freedom of individual. Why the hell did the teacher take all the passports for “safekeeping”? Are jap high schoolers not mature or responsible enough to handle their own passports? Are the family members all useless or what

  • Flora

    I guess field trips are a really big deal over there. But then again, if you get to go cool places like major cities & to foreign countries, I guess they would be.

    Not like in the U.S., where the coolest place most schools can take their students is the nearest amusement park.

  • Lulu

    I think they should have rescheduled the class trip to take place within the borders of Japan then. It wasn’t the student’s fault that his passport was loss, and if I was one of his classmates, I would rather not go aboard for the trip than for one sad classmate to miss out on a class bonding activity! Could always go to Taiwan later! The important thing is group bonding!

    I kinda wish his classmates had rise to the occasion and volunteer to stay, but I guess in Japan, it was up to the teacher? (In America, the students will take more charge than the teachers).

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