The education ministry has published guidelines for a more comprehensive approach to dealing with school bullying by using experts.
In a bid to step up efforts to tackle the problem, the ministry plans to increase its budget request for related programs for the next fiscal year by about 2.7 billion yen from fiscal 2012 to about 7.3 billion yen.
Education minister Hirofumi Hirano said at a press conference Wednesday, "After serious cases in which students' lives were at risk, we will face the issue directly and sincerely."
The ministry plans as early as this month to start designating experts such as lawyers, former police officers and psychiatrists as special advisers.
The advisers will offer opinions on how to prevent and handle bullying incidents. Local boards of education will launch similar efforts.
In its budget request, the ministry said it plans to send clinical psychologists qualified as school counselors to all of the nation's 9,835 public middle schools and 13,800 public primary schools, up 2,110 from fiscal 2012.
The list of schools with bullying problems that are regularly visited by government-appointed advisers recruited from among former school teachers will also be expanded.
The ministry aims to double the number of social workers to work between schools and the organizations that help schools and victims from 1,113 to 2,226.
An emergency information card with a 24-hour hotline number set by the ministry for school bullying counseling will be distributed nationwide to all primary, middle and high school students.
Shinagawa to suspend bullies
The education board in Tokyo's Shinagawa Ward plans to step up the use of suspension orders to combat students who persist in bullying, it was learned Thursday.
The aim is to deter school bullying and provide some sense of security to victims, education board officials said.
All primary and middle schools in Shinagawa Ward will also carry out anonymous surveys on school bullying every month.
Under Japan's School Education Law, local education boards can issue suspension orders to the guardians of students who repeatedly use violence at school.
However, no such suspensions were given in Tokyo in the five years through March 2011, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education.