• Kyodo

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A 16-year-old American youth and his parents filed a civil suit Friday against the village of Kijimadaira, Nagano Prefecture, accusing the village of failing to protect the teen from bullying at a public school, causing him and his family psychological damage.

The family is demanding 7 million yen in compensation in the suit filed with the Nagano District Court.

According to the petition, the youth’s classmates started to bully him by excluding him from groups shortly after he entered a public junior high school in Kijimadaira in April 1997.

The teen’s parents asked the school to deal with the problem, saying it was based on racial prejudice, but the school took no action, the suit says.

No longer able to tolerate the situation, the youth transferred to a private junior high school in Chiba Prefecture in October 1998, it says.

Eiki Yamazaki, the village’s vice superintendent of education, said that he regrets the suit was filed, “because we are in the middle of talks for a reconciliation.”