Photo/IllutrationThe controversial new school wear designed by Armani for Taimei Elementary School in Tokyo’s Ginza district (Provided by Taimei Elementary School)

A school principal has apologized to parents after children were pinched and scorned by strangers in the streets following his decision to dress pupils in pricey new Armani uniforms for the new school year.

Toshitsugu Wada of Taimei Elementary School admitted at a special meeting Feb. 27 that opting for Armani had caused anxiety and confusion.

Wada faced a barrage of questions at the meeting from concerned parents such as, “Will (our children) be able to be educated in safety and with peace of mind?” and “Could a vicious-minded person get into the school and endanger our kids?”

Security has now been tightened around the school in the posh Tokyo district of Ginza in Chuo Ward after several children were pinched and verbally abused in the streets nearby.

As well as police patrols, four security guards from a private firm have been hired by ward authorities to watch over the children on their way to and home from the school, officials said.

The decision by the school to dress all new pupils in school wear from the Italian fashion house Armani at double the price of the current uniform from April this year caused an uproar among parents when it was announced.

Wada said he hit upon the idea to have an upscale fashion brand design the new clothing to express the identity of "a school in Ginza," one of the capital's poshest districts.

Parents of the 336 children currently enrolled in the school were invited to the meeting, with 98 attending.

It was held following a request to Chuo Ward’s board of education from not only uneasy parents but also Armani, said a local government official.

At the meeting, parents were told that private security guards had been hired to keep an eye on pupils along the school routes and within the school site from Feb. 26, in addition to patrols by teachers, staff of the ward’s board of education and local police officers.

The cost of the guards will be borne by the ward government.

Taimei Elementary School is so popular that parents must enter a lottery to enroll their children if they live outside of the designated area.

Fifty-five new pupils are to be enrolled in the school for the new year starting in April and all of them have ordered the new Armani school wear, according to the shops in charge of marketing the clothes.

Discussions have been held with parents of new pupils and the teachers, including Wada, about how the children will make their way to and from school. Up until Feb. 27, parents of 45 children had talked with Wada and none complained about the uniforms.

However, 659 people nationwide had contacted the ward’s government regarding the new Armani gear as of Feb. 27.

Most lamented the decision to adopt the pricey uniform, saying, “Such expensive wear is not appropriate for a public school,” and “Can you ensure the safety of the children?”