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Little progress in ending school bullying 7 years after suicide

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The recent court ruling over a bullying-related suicide in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, has come as a warning that even minors could be held strictly accountable for the consequences of their cruel bullying.

The moral of the Otsu District Court’s ruling should be used to prevent tragedies caused by school bullying.

In the ruling handed down Feb. 19, the court recognized that bullying led to the suicide of a 13-year-old student at a junior high school in Otsu in October 2011 and ordered his two tormentors to pay about 37 million yen ($334,000) in compensation to the bereaved family.

The Otsu municipal government admitted its responsibility and reached a settlement with the parents of the victim in March 2015.

The case provoked a public outcry not only because of the brutalities the victim suffered but also due to the tardy and lukewarm responses by the school and the municipal board of education and attempts by officials responsible for handling the case to protect themselves. The case served as a catalyst for a law promoting anti-bullying measures that took effect in 2013.

The law prescribes two basic........

© The Asahi Shimbun