Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto on Saturday apologized to the parents of a 17-year-old boy who killed himself on Dec 23 after he had been physically punished by the school basketball coach.
After meeting the parents for about an hour, Hashimoto told reporters that the teacher’s treatment of the student was unforgivable and that local administrators were also at fault, TBS reported. Sakuranomiya high school, which the boy attended, is under the jurisdiction of the Osaka municipal government.
The boy, who was the captain of his basketball team, hanged himself at home with a tie after being physically punished by the coach. The student told his mother he had been struck 30 to 40 times the day before he died. The 47-year-old coach has admitted slapping the boy to “toughen him up.”
Hashimoto said that the boy’s mother asked him to send a strong message to teachers and coaches that it is wrong to use corporal punishment in schools.
Hashimoto said that he himself used to think that corporal punishment was a necesary part of discipline, but has changed his mind and now realizes that it is a practice that must be corrected, TBS reported.
Osaka police are investigating the incident which has sparked a national debate about the place of physical punishment in Japanese sports.