National

Number of cases of school bullying rises to new high in Japan

Kyodo

Japanese schools reported a record number of bullying cases in fiscal 2017 amid a nationwide effort to have teachers identify even the most minor cases in order to tackle problems while they are still at an early stage, the education ministry said Thursday

Public and private elementary, junior and senior high schools, as well as special schools, reported a total of 414,378 cases of bullying in the year to the end of March, up 91,235 from a year earlier, according to a ministry survey.

The number of serious bullying cases resulting in students suffering severe physical and mental injuries rose to 474, up 78, while 10 of the 250 students who killed themselves during the reporting year had been bullied at school, the ministry said.

Elementary schools tallied the highest number of bullying cases at 317,121, up 79,865, followed by junior high schools at 80,424, up 9,115, and high schools at 14,789, up 1,915.

The number of cases at special schools, which cater to students who have learning difficulties, stood at 2,044, up 340, the ministry said.

While 85.5 percent of the total bullying cases have been resolved, some were still being dealt with, according to the survey.

About a quarter of the surveyed schools said they had not identified a single case of bullying in the year.

Asked to describe what form of bullying took place, teasing accounted for 62.3 percent of the total cases. Online slander accounted for 3.0 percent, with the number of cases rising to a record 12,632, up 1,853.

Of cases designated as serious incidents under the law on the prevention of bullying, students suffered serious injuries including broken bones in 191, while in 332 cases, students stayed away from school for 30 days or longer in the year, with some of the cases overlapping.

The serious cases included that of a girl who died in July last year after falling from a Hiroshima junior high school building. The girl’s parents claim she took her own life and it was later confirmed she had been bullied.

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