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.