The number of reported cases of school bullying surged to 198,108 last year, 2.8 times more than the roughly 70,000 cases reported the year before, the education ministry said Tuesday.

The ministry attributed the increase to intensified efforts by schools to learn of and report bullying.

Officials conducted an emergency survey on bullying from April to September 2012 following the suicide of a male high school student in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, and confirmed some 144,000 cases. The number reported in the following October-March period was about 54,000.