Bullying in Japan’s schools caught public attention in October 2011 when a 13 year old middle school boy from Otsu, Shiga prefecture, committed suicide after being bullied by his peers. The investigation brought to light the fact that bullying was a major social concern after all. More people sought for police involvement in the matter.
A new report released yesterday by the National Police Agency showed that the number of reported incidents of school bullying more than doubled to 260 in 2012 in comparison to the year before. It was also the highest in a span of 25 years. According to the report, 511 students have been arrested or taken into custody last year for bullying; that’s more than twice the number in 2011, which was 219. It also showed that of all those reported bullying, 384 were in middle school, 91 were in high school, 36 were in elementary school and 42 were girls. 126 cases are said to have a resulting injury, while 74 involved forms of bullying other than physical assault. 74% of the victims sought advice from parents, 35% from teachers, while 15% didn’t ask for help at all.
Only last week, a special commission on education reform led by Kaoru Kamata, a researcher at Waseda University, said a proposal containing measures to deal with the problem has already been finalized, and the same will be submitted to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the end of the month. One of the recommendations is that “moral education” be made a regular subject in school in the hopes of teaching students to be “emotionally and physically balanced.” It will also propose the establishment of an independent organization beyond the school system where victims have a venue to report bullying and get help.