During the juvenile trial at the Saitama Family Court on February 4, Monday, a 19-year-old former university student was sentenced to time in a juvenile reform center for a period of not less than 24 months. The penalty was meted for the boy’s unremorseful and violent attack on the superintendent of the Otsu Municipal Board of Education, Kenji Sawamura, on August 15 last year by driving a hammer into Sawamura’s face.
Sawamura, who was left with a fractured skull after the attack, was then in charge of handling the case of a 13-year-old boy who committed suicide, which was later found to have been caused by extreme bullying by students in his school. It was believed by many, the 19-year-old offender included, that Sawamura and the rest of his colleagues have not only turned a blind eye to the link between the suicide and bullying, but had even gone to lengths of concealing that any such bullying was taking place. Frustrated and disgusted, the offender then set off to kill Sawamura; which he had eventually confessed to the police when taken into custody.
Only yesterday, February 5, the city government of Otsu, in Shiga Prefecture, admitted for the very first time that the suicide of a 13-year-old boy in October 2011 was “directly caused” by continuous and ruthless bullying he experienced in school. It will be remembered that when the family of the 13-year-old filed the lawsuit, the education board was quick to deny that there was any bullying. But, when evidence and eyewitness accounts surfaced that bullying was consciously hidden, the board reversed its position and apologized.
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