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On the morning of July 30, a 14-year-old boy hanged himself at his home in the city of Nishi-Tokyo, a commuter hub northwest of downtown Tokyo. The teenager, a cheerful member of his junior high school’s tennis club, had decided that his life was simply not worth living.

This, however, was only part of the story — the teenager only did what he had been ordered to do by his abusive stepfather. After suffering a severe beating a day earlier, the stepfather reportedly told the teen “to go hang yourself within the next 24 hours.”

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