The Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education released the list of 130 public schools that are currently facing corporal punishment cases. They also announced that 182 teachers and other employees were involved in instances where they punished students at 146 public elementary, junior high, senior high, and special schools in fiscal year 2012.
In light of increasing acts of abuse that have become causes of public concern for Japanese elementary and middle schools, Japan’s education ministry has put out a list of specific acts of bullying that could and should be reported promptly to police. The ministry has communicated this list to prefectures and boards of education of large cities through an official notification, this after a second-year middle school student committed suicide in Otsu in 2011 after he was apparently bullied. Since many schools have said that there is confusion over what type of behavior could be considered as reportable to the police, the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry stepped in with this list to provide concrete examples and to encourage prompt response from school authorities on cases similar to those in the list.
As issues of school bullying in Japan appear to be on the rise, another situation has been reported by Fuji TV on Thursday, as seven high school seniors were accused this week of assaulting younger students at a Yamanashi Prefecture high school. The students were part of the high school’s famous soccer team, with the senior members allegedly assaulting the younger ones. The high school is an affiliate of Yamanashi Gakuin University.
The Ministry of Education conducted a survey spanning 10 months starting April 2012 to March 2013, and it showed that 840 teachers used some sort of corporal punishment on their students. This is more than twice the 404 cases from the whole fiscal year of 2011.
In an interview with national newspaper Mainichi, a 15-year-old student detailed how he had been subjected to physical bullying by his classmates for three years and how the school had not done enough to ensure that the incidents would at least be lessened. Three bullies were eventually arrested last year after he and his mother decided to go to the police instead.
The Japanese Olympic Committee has vowed to take concrete steps in eradicating violence and bullying in its sports federations after a survey showed that more than 10% of the athletes have been bullied or harassed. JOC director Tsuyoshi Fukui said they are taking the results seriously, especially in light of the recent judo abuse scandal.
The Education Rebuilding Implementation Council led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged the government yesterday to create a third-party council that would specifically tackle bullying in schools and that would formulate guidelines that would effectively implement measures against physical punishment. This first recommendation of the panel was submitted by its chairperson, Waseda University President Kaoru Kamata, to Abe at the Prime Minister’s Office.
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.
The government’s Education Rebuilding Implementation Council, led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and chaired by Kaoru Kamata, who is president of Waseda University, saw it necessary to recommend teaching morals in order to improve the students' emotional education when the panel submits its report on measures against bullying and corporal punishment at the end of February. The council believes that by making it a formal subject for primary and middle schools, a sufficient number of hours will be ensured to teach the subject and the quality of the classes could be improved.