A government survey says that 840 public school teachers used corporal punishment during a 10-month period starting in April 2012 — more than twice the 404 cases tallied in all of fiscal 2011.
The sharp rise came amid closer scrutiny by local education boards following the suicide of a high school student who had been frequently beaten by his basketball coach in Osaka, education ministry officials said Friday.
The tally of teachers identified as having used corporal punishment in the first 10 months of fiscal 2012, which ended in March, is already bigger than the full-year record of 494 cases in fiscal 2003.
The ministry plans to release the full-year total in June, including the tallies for public and private schools.
The preliminary survey says that 1,890 students in public elementary, junior high and high schools in Japan were physically punished.
Of the 840 teachers, 416 were employed at junior high schools, 220 at high schools, 189 at elementary schools, and 15 at special schools. A third of the teachers actually injured the students.
The largest chunk of teachers came from Osaka Prefecture at 96, followed by Fukuoka Prefecture with 77 and Gifu with 64. No teacher from Iwate was identified as using corporal punishment.
Severe disciplinary action was taken against 84 of the teachers, including two who were fired.