Photo/IllutrationLawyers for the plaintiffs criticize the Tokyo District Court's ruling over subsidies to a Korean school on Sept. 13. (The Asahi Shimbun)

The Tokyo District Court on Sept. 13 ruled in favor of the government’s decision to withhold subsidies to a Korean school because of its close connections to North Korea.

Presiding Judge Kazuhiko Tanaka said the decision was acceptable from a legal standpoint, rejecting the arguments of 62 former students of the Tokyo Korean Junior and Senior High School who filed the lawsuit, citing discrimination.

It was the third ruling concerning the government’s decision to exclude Korean schools from the tuition-free high school education program.

In July, the Hiroshima District Court also supported the government decision, while the Osaka District Court the same month ruled it was illegal.

Lawsuits filed in Nagoya and Fukuoka are still pending.

Under the tuition-free program introduced in 2010, the government covers the costs of high school education through subsidies to ensure students will not have to give up their studies because of financial reasons.

But the government in 2013 decided to exclude Korean schools from the program after military provocations by North Korea.

The Tokyo Korean Junior and Senior High School is connected to the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon), North Korea’s de facto embassy in Japan.

The plaintiffs argued, “The school has been operating appropriately. The nation’s decision to exclude the Korean school is based on a political and diplomatic judgment, and is, therefore, illegal.”

The government side countered that its exclusion of the school from the program was legal because of the school’s close relationship with North Korea and Chongryon.

It also argued that it found no evidence that the school was operating appropriately.

The plaintiffs were seeking 6.2 million yen ($56,000) in compensation from the government for mental anguish.

American, Chinese, Brazilian and other foreign schools are eligible for the tuition-free program.