An education ministry survey has found that more than 10,000 students received corporal punishment from more than 5,000 teachers across Japan in fiscal 2012.
According to a preliminary survey report released in April, 840 teachers at 752 schools physically punished 1,890 students in the 10 months from the start of the last fiscal year in April 2012.
However, in a follow-up report, the numbers of victims and teachers soared more than fivefold as relatively minor cases were apparently discovered through a questionnaire given to parents and children.
The numbers are expected to be even higher in a final report to be compiled by the ministry in late June at the earliest. Seven local governments have yet to disclose the results of the follow-up survey filed with the ministry and many municipalities have not surveyed national and private schools.
The ministry carried out the survey following a high-profile case in which a 17-year-old student at a municipal high school in Osaka committed suicide in December after being beaten by his basketball coach.
Jiji Press added up figures released through Saturday from 44 prefectures and 16 major cities, as well as preliminary survey results from the seven local governments that have yet to disclose the outcome of their follow-up survey.
Junior high schools accounted for nearly half of the teachers and students involved in physical punishment. Elementary and high school teachers each accounted for 25 percent of all abusive teachers, while about 30 percent of the victims were high school students, more than elementary school pupils.
By prefecture, Nagasaki had the largest number of teachers who used physical punishment, at 452, followed by Oita with 383.
A senior official in the Oita prefectural board of education said the figures include cases in which parents said in the questionnaire they did not regard the act in question as corporal punishment.
“It was hard to judge, but we took it as a good opportunity for teachers to change themselves so that they do not easily punish children physically,” the official said.