Bullying cases swamp legal bureaus

Kyodo

Regional legal affairs bureaus responded to a record 3,988 school bullying cases last year, up 20.6 percent from 2011, the Justice Ministry announced Friday.

The findings come amid heightened attention on the issue following the 2011 suicide of a junior high school student who had been severely bullied in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, a ministry official said.

The bureaus received 14,746 reports in total about school bullying in the reporting year, and urged schools to carry out thorough investigations or recommended that victims file police reports in 3,988 cases, the ministry said.

They also dealt with a record 370 corporal punishment cases in 2012, a spike of some 32.6 percent from the year before, according to the ministry.

Corporal punishment has drawn attention since a high school student in Osaka committed suicide late last year after his basketball coach subjected him to repeated physical abuse.

Meanwhile, the number of reports about defamation on Internet bulletin boards also reached a record-high 3,926 cases, it said.

The regional bureaus received a total of 266,489 cases of human rights violation, including domestic violence and discrimination against disabled people, and took action in 22,930 of the incidents, the ministry said.