• Jiji

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Bullying cases recognized by elementary, junior high, high and special-needs schools in Japan in fiscal 2019 grew by some 60,000 from the previous year to a record 612,496, the education ministry said Thursday.

The number rose for the sixth straight year and has grown about threefold in that period, led by a sharp increase in cases at elementary schools, according to a survey by the ministry.

The law on promoting measures to prevent bullying took effect in 2013 in response to a high-profile bullying and suicide case involving a junior high school boy in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture.

Fights and teasing are now counted as bullying cases in line with the law.

“(Schools) have recognized bullying cases proactively in order to eliminate them,” a ministry official said.

In fiscal 2019, which ended in March this year, bullying cases at elementary schools rose by some 50,000 to 484,545. Bullying cases stood at 106,524 at junior high schools, 18,352 at high schools and 3,075 at special-needs schools.

Schools that detected bullying cases accounted for 82.6% of all schools, up 1.8 percentage points.

By type of bullying, jeering, teasing and name-calling were the most common cases at elementary, junior high and high schools. The number of bullying cases involving personal computers and mobile phones was significant at high schools.

The survey also showed that 83.2% of the recognized bullying cases had been resolved by the end of the fiscal year.

The number of bullying cases detected per 1,000 students was highest in Miyazaki Prefecture, at 122.4, and lowest in Saga Prefecture, at 13.8.

The law requires schools to investigate serious bullying cases. The recognized number of such cases rose by 121 to a record 723.

The number of elementary, junior and high school students who committed suicide fell by 15 to 317. Of them, 10 students had been bullied, while motive was not identified for 188 cases, the largest group.

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