A student survey has revealed that a 13 year old junior high school student from Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, who killed himself last October had been repeatedly forced by bullied to “practice” his suicide. 15 students responded to the school’s questionnaire about the bullying, but this information was never shared by the city’s board of education at a November 2011 news conference. The boy’s parents currently have an ongoing lawsuit in the local district court against three students, their parents, and the Otsu Municipal Government, seeking damages of 77.2 million yen (approx. $966,235).
From among the 15 student’s responses, their descriptions of the bullying included that the victim was beaten in the bathroom, forced to practice taking his own life everyday, told to put a dead sparrow in his mouth, extorted for money from “friends,” and forced to shoplift for the bullies. There were even explanations that the boy asked a teacher for advice, but the teacher didn’t help. When the Otsu District Court trial started in May, the municipal government admitted that the boy had been bullied, but also argued that it couldn’t be determined if the suicide was a result of the bullying.
The 13 year old boy was found dead on October 11th, 2011, not far from his home, with local police quickly determining that the cause of death was suicide. Some of the other torments the boy was put through include being held in a headlock and beaten, having his pants pulled down, and being forced to eat dead bees. Teachers were reported as having witnessed such behavior, but only mildly reprimanding the bullies. Professor Naoki Ogi of Hosei University, a critic of education, commented that the concealment of truth by the educational administration is a complete failure of the system. I would say that’s putting it lightly. Letting student behavior like go on, without protection from teachers, would be a major contributing factor into the suicide rate problem that plagues Japan.