School teacher busted embezzling 'nature program' funds

News On Japan -- Oct 25

A teacher from a Himeji City public elementary school in Hyogo Prefecture has been arrested on suspicion of embezzling approximately 270,000 yen meant for the food budget of a nature school program.

Additionally, about 2.3 million yen has gone missing from the school, and the police are investigating.

According to the police, the suspect and teacher at Himeji City Higashi Elementary School, was arrested on suspicion of embezzling 270,000 yen in August last year, which had been earmarked for a 4-night, 5-day experiential learning program called "Nature School" for fifth graders.

At the time, Kitayama was in charge of the school's nature program accounts. The school had received a notification about unpaid amounts from a vendor, leading them to consult with the police.

In response to the investigation, the teacher denies the allegations, stating, "I certainly withdrew the money from the school's account, but I kept the cash at home."

According to the Prefectural Board of Education, an additional 2.3 million yen is missing from the school. They have taken disciplinary action against Kitayama, dismissing him on Oct 24.