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."

Municipal authorities told The Japan Times that the teenager had turned up to class with bruises on his face twice in a six-month period between November 2013 and April this year. The student even told teachers his stepfather had beaten him, and yet neither incident was reported to welfare officials.