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University disciplines teacher who made discriminatory remark about Fukushima student glowing in the dark via The Japan Times

A part-time teacher at Kwansei Gakuin University has been disciplined for comments made in 2014 about a student from Fukushima Prefecture glowing in the dark due to supposed radiation exposure, the university said Tuesday.

The remark, which only recently came to light, was made during a class by the English-language teacher, identified as a foreign national in his 40s, according to the university in the city of Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture.

It said the teacher received a pay cut effective Feb. 17, as the university regards the comment as discriminatory and “inconsiderate to people affected by” the March 11, 2011, quake and tsunami disaster that led to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant meltdowns and evacuations.

The university said it will not renew the teacher’s contract after it expires at the end of March.

During an English class sometime around October or November in 2014, the teacher asked the student, who had entered the university in April that year, where she was from.

After the student said she was from Fukushima Prefecture, the teacher turned off the lights and said he thought she would glow.

The student, who was in her 20s, found it “difficult” to attend classes at the university after the incident, the university said.

After she learned the university had opened a harassment counseling center in April 2016, the student sought advice about the incident.

After the incident came to light, the teacher admitted to having made the remark but explained it was a joke.

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