City Admits Boy’s Suicide Over Bullying, Offers Settlement

An empty corridor at Ostu school, where a 13 year old boy killed himself due to bullying

Image source

According to the Asahi Shimbun, in the first half of 2012 more than 140,000 students in Japan faced bullying, almost 300 of which were cases of “serious” violence.

Not only is bullying a huge problem in Japan but it’s also dramatically under-addressed, with many victims feeling they can’t tell teachers, and some teachers even choosing to ignore bullying in their classrooms.

In a recent case in Otsu City, it took more than a year for the court to recognize that bullying was what prompted the 13 year old victim to commit suicide.

The news spread across the web where netizens were shocked to find that bullying is still so bad it causes children to take their own lives.

From Sankei MSN News:

“Bullying Recognized As Cause of Death” – Otsu City Asks For Formal Settlement

A fifth round of oral proceedings opened on the 5th in Otsu district Court (presided by Judge Hayabe Koya) where the parents of the boy in second year at the city middle school (13 at the time) who committed suicide in October 2011 sued three of their son’s classmates, their parents and the city 77,2 million yen in damages on the grounds that the cause of suicide was bullying. The lawyer representing the city stated “We recognize that there was an error based on a report written by an external inquiry. We want to discuss a settlement.”

They city asked for a formal settlement when their representative stated during the oral proceedings that: “the city recognizes they have a duty to pay damages of the link between the bullying and the cause of suicide and the city’s own errors”.

Otsu bullying incident school head and education board head

The school principal (centre) and the head of the education board (right) at an earlier press conference.

The plaintiffs said that “we were waiting impatiently for the report but we also felt that we should make our claim before that. We’ll need to consider a number of things now, including whether we should accept the city’s settlement.”

The first round of oral proceedings in May last year turned into an all-round fight, but in July, city mayor Koshi Naomi admitted that the city school board had not done a thorough enough investigation and set up a third party committee made up external experts to confirm whether the cause of suicide was the bullying. In the second round of oral proceedings during the same month, the city stated their desire to discuss a settlement after the end of the external investigation because “it was highly probable that the suicide would indeed be recognized as being linked to the bullying”.

Comments from Twitter:

i_nitoh ‏さん:

The problem student has not reflected on his actions, and the teacher has not apologized, have they?

ケロたま吉 ‏さん:

What did the classmate bully do? Did they fight or something?

おれきちゃん@淫獣 ‏さん:

Wha? (coercion)

とらさん:

Well, even if there is a settlement….

o-hara さん:

When Mayor Koshi Naomi said “If the school and the School Board had thoroughly done a survey before, it would not have taken this much time”, isn’t she just thinking: “I’m not the one at fault”?

弁護士奥村徹 さん:

Ishikawa Kenji, the lawyer representing the bereaved families, said “They have complete carte blanche on whether or not to accept the settlement. I looked at the full report from start to end, and though it was not a thorough investigation and we have nothing to do but acknowledge its value. Next time, I’ll file my case based on the report.”

bullseye-osk.com さん:

Rather than the city and all those other people, how are they punishing the bully? The court needs to order an extended prison stay and an enormous compensation paid to the victims to show the world just how much bullies pay for bullying.

日本国を中国・韓国から守りたい! ‏さん:

Their response is that of the worst city in the world! The city should be completely denounced! Let the municipal government and its Zainichi [Koreans] get the punishment they deserve! We absolutely cannot let this fade into the background! The Zainichi are killing Japanese kids, and these incidents are hidden within regional borders!

ひぃд`・@こすきどリョー♥ さん:

Don’t they need to consent to the settlement? If I were in their place, I definitely would not take it!

蒼吐さん:

Can they really settle after killing someone? Being that insensitive reeks of of dirty gooks.

neatnao さん:

This incident involves the loss of a human life. I get that they want to completely cover it up though.

rem1187sps さん:

Can’t help thinking: they were initially concealing things, so is the point of this settlement to draw things to a close because they don’t want anyone to find out anything more? Soon, if people Tweet this incident, it will be tangled up with the left-wing. Scary scary!

さっちゃん ‏さん:

Weren’t there also reports saying the the classmate bully is even now continuing to claim that “I was only playing”?

牛猫 ‏さん:

If they want to settle, the mayor should also resign and the people in charge should be disposed of. If they don’t set this case apart, the same thing will just happen again.

cuts さん:

Once again a bullied kid has been pushed to suicide and the school and town have covered things up. Even if there is an offer to settle this time, if I were in their place I would not let them get away with too much…

空ですさん:

They wasted tax money concealing this.

ほんだ/まこと さん:

I don’t feel quite right about the word “settlement” being used when the boy himself isn’t here.

PGM21 ‏さん:

Only recognizing compensation for the victims doesn’t arrest the initial culprit. They need to settle and correct this matter by, most of all, prosecuting the attacker.

三井寿里 FFF/イ9b 裁き/ほ20 ‏さん:

Wonder what the bully is thinking.

Qさん:

Crazy, asking to settle after killing someone ( ̄◇ ̄;)

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  • bluesummers

    FUCK compensation, do SOMETHING about it.
    One kid dying means that it is already too late and they should have acted.

    • robert1965h8

      exactly, compensation isn’t sufficient in this case.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/VictimOfBoredom Matt

    Bullies don’t deserve to live.

    • monmon

      Bullies were often bully victims themselves.

      • Moniisek

        You guys have not read Of Mice And Men? The most visible and cruel force is the one built upon trampering on others. No matter how weak people are, they always seek to destroy those weaker them themselves.
        Kids are cruel and thinking about my own early teens, there were bullies and their victims, yet most of us (me included) just refused to see their pain. Maybe it proves that people are indeed nasty and cruel beings by nature.

      • exink

        So we should feel sympathy for them? Bullies who were once bullied themselves are the worst kind since they know how it feels to be on the receiving end but are still willing to do it to others.

  • god

    teachers that ignore or help in bullying should die too.

  • Reila90

    Natural selection i guess?

    • mr.wiener

      I take it you were never bullied?

      • Erick

        She’s actually right.
        Being bullied is a fact of life, but there are lots of people can manage to ignore it, fight back (reporting to teachers, for example), or find other friends that won’t bully you :|

        This boy couldn’t take it and did suicide, it’s a pure natural selection :)
        Mother nature is a cold-hearted bitch in the end.

        • bluesummers

          I hope you have a heart attack and the doctor watches you die on the operating table. Natural selection right? If you were healthy then you wouldn’t need to be rushed to hospital in the first place.

        • mr.wiener

          All you have said is true……but the next time some kid is driven to suicide are we just meant to shrug our shoulders and say: “Ahh well natural selection”,?
          I don’t think so.

        • exink

          I assume that you think the same thing with what;s happening in many countries around the world like in Africa I guess you think that the Chinese officials, (for example) who bully the common man with threats, beatings and murder are the “winners” in life.

        • Observer

          If you want to use bullying as a form of natural selection (you seem to define ability to withstand bullying as survival of the fittest), you would need every person in the world to experience the same amount of bullying. then you can see who can “take it”.

          Perhaps some of the bullies themselves, if put under the same pressure, would also commit suicide.

        • linette lee

          Nothing natural about bullying. It is not a natural environment. Natural selection would be something like the kid was born with a defect. Being in a bullying environment is a man made condition. It’s like you can not say some thief stabbed you in the stomach and stole your wallet that’s a natural selection. You were forced to be in that situation or condition by some criminal or bullies. That is assault and harassment. Nobody kids or adults should be forced being in that condition. Sometimes there is no way to fight back. So as a community or school, they need to work on zero tolerance for crime or bullying. Criminals and bullies need to be punished press charges against. The schools or communities need to have plans and actions to handle crimes and bullying.
          Next time if any kids tell you they are being bullied, you take it very seriously and go find out. Treat it like the kid is being assaulted by a criminal. There is a criminal in the school physically and mentally assaulting a child. Zero tolerance for bully and crime. Keep the neighborhood safe for all kids and adults.

      • Kate

        I never was. I played on the girls varsity soccer team in high school. Being apart of a sports team helps prevent bullying. I’m definately going to get my daughter into sports.

        • exink

          I hope you also teach your daughter not to bully, not just how to join the more popular group

          • Kate

            Oh I was never apart of the more popular group. My parents weren’t rich enough. I only had 2 good friends in HS anyway and didn’t hang out in “groups”. College was better. I knew what went on in the popular groups though—alot of drugs and drinking. And many of the girls were narcissistic, cruel assholes. Some of the “popular” girls started the “pretty committee” and only thought themselves pretty enough to be on it. The irony being not one, imo, was even pretty. Anyway many kids despised the “popular kids” so how could they actually be popular if not that many people, aside from them kissing their own butts, actually liked them? To me they weren’t popular, their parents just had enough $$$ to get them nice cars and clothes. The real popular girls were the ones that were friendly to everyone, a lot of the chrisitan girls were really nice and reached out to all kinds of other kids. I hope my daughter is more like that.

    • exink

      How I hope you’re not a teacher!

    • Observer

      I don’t see anything “natural” about the selection process.

      In nature, natural selection happens when physical or mental defect occurs in an individual that impairs it’s ability to compete with other of it’s species, therefore loosing “the race”.

      Bullying is not the same.

      In the case of bullying, an individual is selected and targeted BY HIS/HER PEERS (not by nature) and then hounded until he/she takes his/her own life. The reason for the targeting can be anything. Sometimes it’s because of a mental/physical disability, sometimes just because they were randomly selected for no reason at all. There;s nothing natural in this.

    • Moniisek

      FYI, our current society moved from stone age by protecting the weak. Your argument is invalid.

  • https://www.facebook.com/dinie.akhemu Gerhana

    when the nail that stick out get hammered down, you get a society with pent up frustration, like a volcano waiting to erupt, and when it erupt, it’ll come out in an extreme way. Bullying is just one way, that will teach the society to suppress me. We are all rebel of society once, its how we did it that are different.

    The problem may lie deeper than just bullying.

    • monmon

      I agree, it’s a problem of society itself. As well as the reluctance to face problems. People are often just told to “tough it out”.

  • henryezra

    Reading the comment, again, there would be always some Japanese blame Korean for almost everything LOL It’s similar to Indonesian that always blame Jewish for everything

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/VictimOfBoredom Matt

      Really? Indonesians too? That’s disappointing… :/

  • https://www.facebook.com/dinie.akhemu Gerhana

    the interesting suicide case in Japan is the suicide forest (Aokigahara near Mt Fuji). The forest looks serene and they have discovered many suicide corpses there. They go there and struggle with the thoughts of whether to commit suicide or not. Some follow through to the end… Its a beautiful purgatory almost as if it is a forest from paradise, that at times, becomes the keeper of the silent, rotten bodies with their anguish hopeless story.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bf/Aokigahara_forest_01.jpg

    http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/02/6d/3d/df/aokigahara-forest-nature.jpg

    http://www.fansshare.com/community/uploads17/9853/aokigahara/

  • http://twitter.com/vonPeterhof Vadim Dominov

    Douchy McNitpick O’Fivedayslate here! Honestly, I tried to let it slip this time, but I just couldn’t bear to see probably the most profound comment on this article misrepresented.

    “There were no adults involved so it feels odd to use the word “settlement”.”

    It says 本人, not 大人…

    “Using the word “settlement” even though the victim himself isn’t with us any more feels odd”.

    In unrelated news, this site has completely desensitized me to Korean-bashing. Considering that I’m half-Korean and most of my extended family is of Korean descent I’m not sure if that’s a good thing.

    • besudesu

      Yup…I see that one. Thanks for pointing it out.

      I think that in general if you read this site or any of our sister sites, you tend to become desensitized to a lot of this nonsensical bashing. Everyone says the same offensive things the world over. It’s all pretty interchangeable in terms of one nation and another. Still, as someone of Korean descent I wouldn’t be suprised if it initially riled you up a bit!

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