70,231 school bullying cases reported in 2011

TOKYO —

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology on Tuesday said that the number of reported school bullying cases for fiscal 2011 decreased by 9.5% to 70,231. It also added that the number of cases reported was the lowest since the current survey methods were established in 2006.

However, a ministry spokesman added that a spate of bullying cases which hit headlines and sparked off a national debate this year, including the suicide of a schoolboy in Kansai, have led the government to conclude that its methods of identifying bullying may be inadequate, Sankei Shimbun reported.

Bullying occurred in 38% of all schools nationwide, according to the ministry’s survey, with the highest number being 33,124 cases in elementary schools. However, the ministry said only cases that were considered “resolved” or “approaching resolution” were reported, according to Sankei.

Reports of bullying were most prevalent in Kumamoto, which reported 32.9 cases per 1,000 children, and Oita, where 18.3 cases were reported per 1,000 students. The lowest number of reports per 1,000 students were made in Saga, with 0.6, and Fukushima, with 0.8.

The suicides of four students, including a widely publicized case in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, were attributed to bullying, the ministry said.

Japan Today

  • 3

    tokyokawasaki

    Reported... I wonder how many multiples of that number = the combined total (reported and unreported)...

  • 2

    Baibaikin

    However, a ministry spokesman added that a spate of bullying cases which hit headlines and sparked off a national debate this year, including the suicide of a schoolboy in Kansai, have led the government to conclude that its methods of identifying bullying may be inadequate, Sankei Shimbun reported.

    ...the ministry states rather obviously." Time to start banging heads together, metaphorically, starting with teachers who have chosen to ignore their responsbilities or who themselves have been tormenting these poor kids.

  • 4

    scoobydoo

    have led the government to conclude that its methods of identifying bullying may be inadequate,

    MAY BE??, if you couldn't see that you need a dog and a white stick.

  • 0

    Guru29

    Gang up and bully the weaks. A typical Japanese culture.

  • 0

    MasterBape

    Now, bullying is indeed a cowardly and disgraceful act, but there is more to report than just what is in this story.

    Iirc, last night on NHK, it was reported that more suicides came about from school study related matters than bullying. Pressure, I other words.

    Will there be any prevention to this? No.

  • -2

    gogogo

    Obviously there needs to be more teachers and or staff to supervise

  • 0

    Ms. Alexander

    The number of reports might have decreased but I bet the number of suicides increased.

  • 3

    smithinjapan

    gogogo: "Obviously there needs to be more teachers and or staff to supervise"

    There are more than enough of both. What needs to be done is that they are given the powers to discipline the bullies, with the 'monster parents' not having the ability to 'bully' said teachers and administrators thereafter. A 'zero-tolerance' piece of legislature needs to be put into play, with kids that bully others openly and to the point where it drives the bullied to radical action suspended or if continued they should be expelled. The only good thing PM Abe proposed was to implement a system wherein said bullies were suspended from school, but of course that did not meet with a lot of popularity so it was dropped.

    Now, recognition of the problem is becoming a lot more widespread, unfortunately at great cost (ie. suicides), so let's see the government DO something about it! This is the chance -- and I don't mean forming panels, I mean actually making changes.

  • -1

    alliswellinjapan

    Guru29:

    Gang up and bully the weaks. A typical Japanese culture.

    Probably needless to say, the act of bullying the weak is a universally serious problem particularly among developed countries, nothing unique to Japan. As many kids commit suicide due to bullying in the UK, if not more.

  • 0

    GW

    My guess is they need to add another zero to this number, these kind of stats are notoriously UNDER reported.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    alliswellinjapan: "Probably needless to say, the act of bullying the weak is a universally serious problem particularly among developed countries, nothing unique to Japan."

    You are absolutely correct. How it's DEALT with here is the biggest problem -- as in, not dealt with at all until too late in many cases, and then it's usually met with denial. The powers that be need to exercise those powers and start trying to deal with it when they notice it (and/or are informed about it), not wait until after kids die.

  • 0

    minello7

    An age old problem, nothings changed. "The art of good parenting" now that would make a good book or a film , problem is what is a good parent, who teaches us. Are we as parents the shining examples we are supposed to be . Don't blame the teachers, thats wrong, maybe the system is wrong, I don't have the answer. All I know that children need to be listened to.

  • 0

    alliswellinjapan

    smithinjapan:

    The powers that be need to exercise those powers and start trying to deal with it when they notice it (and/or are informed about it), not wait until after kids die.

    Fully concur. Hope to see some improvement now that the whole nation seems to be fully backing stricter measures for transparency and punishment.

    That said however, consider this to be mere symptomatic treatment perhaps primarily serving as a preventive measure for suicide reduction. Root cause in my personal view is insufficiency in parental love on the part of some of these bullying kids. If loved by their parents in the way other kids are generally loved, believe they should naturally be caring enough to be able to feel for these other weaker kids, never even dreaming of engaging in such horrific inhumane acts.

  • -6

    tmarie

    And how many unreported or hushed up? This is for schools only. I wonder how many cases there would be if we added in companies.

  • -2

    valley-of-the-shadows

    You are a product of your environment, nobody is born a bully.

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    alliswellinjapan: "Root cause in my personal view is insufficiency in parental love on the part of some of these bullying kids."

    I'm not disagreeing with you in the least, but my point is that schools need to start being simply schools -- not places to babysit when the parents are away, nor places where things that SHOULD be passed on at home are expected to be passed on by teachers who have 40 kids or more in a class. Schools need to stop being places where stuff that should be passed on at home is passed on there, and hence they take the responsibility. Parents need to know that they cannot expect schools to give their kids wake-up calls and what not. Public schools should be given disciplinary powers slightly more akin to private schools, with a clear distinction between what goes on at home and what goes on at school, and like I said the whole 'monster parent' issue needs to be dealt with. A teacher is a role-model, ideally, but not a parent. Teachers and admin should have the power to say when enough is enough, and let some people go if they are unwilling to meet the demands of the school and education in general. When one kid is utterly taken care of for disrupting a class, it means the other 39 have to sit and wait for their education (which ultimately means further reliance on Juku, but that's another point). Get rid of the one problem and give the kids who want to learn what is their privelage, not their right.

  • -7

    tmarie

    Well said Smith!

  • 1

    marcelito

    Yeah....sure it is decreasing and lowest since 2006... These figures remind me of Japanese unemployment stats, despite the obvious evidence to the contrary they almost never seem to increase , they either stay the same or decrease so as not to embarrass the relevant, incompetent authorities - evidently these figures are nowhere near reality either. At least this article offers an explanation at the end - " only cases that were resolved or approaching resolution were reported" . Translation- the number of bullying cases is way higher but they are not resolved so they do not count as official statistics. TIJ.

  • -1

    jforce

    What is bullying? It's this ninny generation that thinks bullying is even teasing. Who are we supposed to make fun of? How are kids learning to survive, anyway? The answers are no one and they aren't. Prepare for the over sensitive kids to grow up scared of their own shadow.

    Just a sad statement that is combined awful parenting (probably spoiled themselves) and having no individual backbone.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    33,124 cases in elementary schools.

    Without further information it's hard to take this number with anything more than a grain of salt. And people here better understand that while I know bullying is a serious problem here, remember that I also believe that it is under-reported as well. BUT,

    I would like more information on just what MEXT is using to define bullying. Particularly in ES.

  • 0

    Matt

    Resolved cases are down, which implies that unresolved cases are up. This is certainly true in my daughter's school. Our Board of Education has recently sided with the bully rather than the victim! Bully can return to school but traumatised victim has no say. Over at my school, it doesn't have to report cases of bullying, anyway.

  • 0

    Juanjose Santibañez

    Yes;there are statistics. But the government and local authorities must make something else. Is there penalty to family,teachers or those who permit this behavior?.

  • 1

    alliswellinjapan

    smithinjapan: Understand where you're coming from. Fully agree schools should have stronger disciplinary powers. In my view bullying should be regarded as an infringement of another student's right to education protected under the constitution. Every student's right to education should be inseperable from his/her obligation not to violate the same rights of others. Thus all schools, private and public, should have every justification to engage in all means (eg expulsion, report to police) to any of their pupils not fulfilling their obligations. If it were up to me, would even allow teachers (in elementary and junior highschools) to use means of corporate punishment in a manner to be explicitly defined.

    That said, continue to stress my point that, since we are talking about kids (probably aged around 10-14) here, who are still very much immature thus liable to do anything beyond anyone's imagination (ie bullying of unlimited cruelty), believe we also should be extremely mindful of addressing the root cause.

  • 0

    WilliB

    Wow, and those are just the reported ones. So the real figure is something like ten times this much.

  • 0

    Ayler

    Yeah, draw up charts. Get your percentages right. That'll do 'er.

  • 0

    FernandoUchiyama

    Japanese society have to teach its citizens how to protect against bullying. That's the best way to solutionate this problem. In other words, all these bullying is being caused by lack of education from who is doing and/or from who is receiving the bullying.

    Bullying is wrong, but it doesn't happen if any of the person involved is well educated.

    My way of seeing it is that the ordinary japanese is too innocent and japanese society values and beliefs are too primitive.

  • 1

    FernandoUchiyama

    I was reading the comments from everybody and I got very surprised. Almost everyone thinks the system needs to be more strict and there need to be more laws, punishment, vigilance, oppression....

    To me Japan needs more freedom, less laws, less rules, more education, more good culture and things like happiness and good sense.

    People should conversate more and should understand each other more. People should learn how to solve their own problems. Life is an art and everyone must learn how to deal with it. If you are getting bullied, well go there and make it stop. You have voice and education right? Human being is an incredible machine capable of changing the natural course of things. Every bullied children, if they had education, they would be able to stop it. The problem is that japanese are too submissive and they accept everything. They relly on all kind of laws to solve problems.

    My view is that the parents should stop working like crazy and start educating their children. Teachers should only transfer knowledge. Education comes from parents. Teachers duty should stop in the knowledge level.

    Strict laws, rules and regulations are no good. It is required only in rebellious societies. Educated societies tends to be more free.

    Pardon me, but the way I think it is that this problem is not a governments problem, neither a teachers problem. This problem is from the japanese culture and education that needs more sophistication. Japanese society appears to be sick.

    I am a japanese descendant living in the western, I lived in Japan 3 years and a half some time ago, and my heart is filled with sadness when I read this kind of news.

  • 0

    Farmboy

    Education is part of the answer, and creating a caring school environment that can counteract the effect of a violent home life is the goal.

    Meanwhile, tasers discourage many bullies, I hear...

  • 0

    Yubaru

    Yes;there are statistics. But the government and local authorities must make something else. Is there penalty to family,teachers or those who permit this behavior?.

    Simple answer no. But it seems to me that you are just looking for someone to blame, when society as a whole is the problem, and the solution as well.

    However since most people here seem to just like wringing their hands and sucking their teeth when issues like this come to the forefront, nothing is going to happen until a majority of people have the same experiences.

    It will forever be "it's someone elses problem", until people not associated with schools get involved to help change the situation.

  • 0

    Dennis Bauer

    I am sure they will use this report to make big changes! ..... Right! :(

  • 0

    alliswellinjapan

    FernandoUchiyama: Agree Japan society as a whole needs to make some cultural changes by way of shifting "weight allocation" in a way stronger sense of freedom rights is instilled at a balance with the already strong sense of social responsibility and more open and candid communication is promoted at a balance with the predominant virtue of humility and humbleness. But I still don't see this as the root cause nor the solution for bullying in Japan which I see as more of a universal issue. Again bullying by kids take place everywhere in the world. Kids as premature as they are will identify and take on weaker beings and enjoy "making fun of" and "playing jokes on" them whether it be in Japan or the US which I assume has the exact same social characteristics you suggest Japan should acquire.

    What is truly horrifying is the nature of such acts of today which have become endless and limitless, to be continued under full awareness of the possible suicidal death of their targets. Quite similar to seeing kids play around with small insects until they die, or as if they are playing a virtual playstation game which ends only with the target's death. This implies that these kids are no longer considering their targets to be physical human beings and/or they lack the sympathy/empathy others naturally develop through their upbringing.

    One point I agree with you along these lines is the need for parents to spend more time with their children. More importantly however I believe the parents should simply try to get along. I am personally of the (possibly controvercial) opinion that, while not going against the concept of divorce as I realize it may be an unavoidable soloution for specific cases, still believing the society should better systematically address cases of divorce, as the overall impact towards the children is by no means small, manageable for some, not so for others.

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