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7 high school students face charges over suicide of classmate


Seven high school students face charges over the suicide of a classmate in Kasuga, Fukuoka Prefecture, last November.

According to police, 18-year-old Isao Yamaguchi wrote a long letter on his mobile phone, describing his experiences with bullying at the private school he attended between Oct 1 and mid-November, and named the individuals responsible, NTV reported Friday. He finished the message by writing "I will never forgive them."

Shortly thereafter on Nov 14, Yamaguchi jumped to his death from atop a building.

Using the letter left by Yamaguchi and acting on a complaint from his parents, police summoned the seven students named and questioned them regarding their treatment of Yamaguchi.

Police said the students repeatedly beat Yamaguchi by kicking and hitting him, and during cooking class, they shoved a still boiling hot egg into his mouth, as well as beat him on the head with hard stale bread.

Police quoted the students as saying they were just teasing Yamaguchi and that they were sorry if it led to his suicide, NTV reported.

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They're minors. All they have to do is say "sorry" and they can walk away. Make it a crime, even for minors.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

Not only name the students but what they really fear NAME THE SCHOOL!!

11 ( +12 / -1 )

So sad that he didn't have anyone who could support him just a little, because people knew.

And even more sad, there really won't be any consequences and then the next kid will die, ...

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Not sure how they can charge people over suicide. Assult? I get. Suicide? How?

Many Japanese teachers are too scared to do anything about problems at the school for fear of a) the parents and b) being bullied by other teachers or c) being fired. I've watched it first hand. I've also watched teachers' careers be ruined by bullying monster parents when a teacher dares speak up and demands a problem student be dealt with. It's very easy to blame the teachers but they are also victims of the system. And yes, some teachers ARE idiots and just don't want to deal with it all beause they are lazy and have no business calling themselves teachers.

Again, I ask, what did the parents do?? Did the parents go to the school and demand something be done? Did they get their child help? Parents can't expect the teachers to do all the work of teaching and parenting.

Japan can call it "pawa hara", "sekusu hara", "kohai/sempai" but at the end of the day, it is all bullying. Kids watch how adults behave and act accordingly. Osaka's Hashimoto, Tokyo's Ishihara, the bunny ears at the make up company, the forced bowing for screw ups at work... all examples of bullying that goes on here. Until Japan does away with the kohai/sempai, elders are always right, we must be one with the group, don't question the person in power.. this crap will continue.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Agreed. The sempai/kohai system has to go. The teachers at my daughter's junior high school use this system to shirk their responsibilities and go around official school policy. They say something is ok with the school rules, but the sempais will bully my daughter. Huh? An example is my daughter's bicycle needed repair, so she borrowed my wife's. The seat had silver rivets (pretty common). But, the teachers said the sempais would bully her, so we had to change the seat.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

In certain cases, juveniles should share in the consequences for their bad choices through prosecution and incarceration within the adult justice system. Protection from crime is a basic, necessary duty of our government and we should support laws that crack down on all offenders, young or old.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

What kind of society is this? I am sure harsher punishments are needed. 1 innocent life is lost and the school and students involved need to be punished!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The Teachers were either unaware (unlikely) or tacitly approving this treatment of a child in their care. The teachers I have met and worked with have been the most racist, imbecilic ,moronic and uneducated people I have ever met. So it's no surprise when I read stories about school bullying. The Teachers instigate many of these incidences through sheer stupidity. My heart goes out to any child that steps off a building due to inept adults in their live.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

What a pile of trash! And how is it that these idiotic brats able to inflict such violence on a class mate DURING class without teacher intervention? Just goes to show how out of touch some schools are when it comes to the well being and safety of their students.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

This was at a private school? Every private school I have worked in has a had an almost military control over its students. I'm very surprised that none of the teachers were aware of the beatings being,put onto this kid. I think the school and the teachers should also share some of the responsibility.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I work in a high school in the US. There's a designated administrator who maintains an anti-bullying policy and the halls are filled with anti-bullying posters created by students. And I think(and hope) any obvious bullying would be reported. It's so frustrating to continue to read articles like this because you know these incidents could be prevented with just a little more attention by students, teachers or administrators.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Actualy, there are three big ones:

Art 208 (Assault): When a person assaults another without injuring the other person, the person shall be punished by imprisonment with work for not more than 2 years, a fine of not more than 300,000 yen, misdemeanor imprisonment without work or a petty fine.

Art 204 (Injury):A person who causes another to suffer injury shall be punished by imprisonment with work for not more than 15 years or a fine of not more than 500,000 yen.

Art 205 (Injury Causing Death): A person who causes another to suffer injury resulting in death shall be punished by imprisonment with work for a definite term of not less than 3 years.

Without sympathizing with the "humans" that did this, "Injury resulting in death" (Art 205) would be a hard sell since the link between injury and death is less than clear in the case of a suicide. It is AFAIK more for (for example) you beating up a guy and it turns out he got a brain hermorrhage from your beating and died.

More probably, they'll just go with Art 204.

More interesting is whether the teachers can be charged with Art 211 (Causing Death or Injury through Negligence in the Pursuit of Social Activities) or at least Art 210 (Causing Death through Negligence).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Sf2k name the charges? How about assault. At the very least.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

how is it that these idiotic brats able to inflict such violence on a class mate DURING class without teacher intervention?

In Japanese schools, the kids stay in the same classroom, indeed even the same desk, all day, and the teachers rotate. At the very least this gives the kids ~10 minutes between classes where they are unsupervised. Add to this that kids are pretty adept at fooling around even when the teacher is in class.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

What the name of the charge is, i'm not sure. But, I've heard that you can be charged for being the cause of, providing a means and/or place for suicide. Does anyone know? I least I hope there is a law against it...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Laws need to reflect the changes in society. Minors back then rarely behaved in such brutish ways, much less, Japan rarely had suspects such as the guy in Kashiwa who simply was bent on killing people before the night was over. Today, however, we have all kinds of criminals across all age groups and the laws need to reflect these changes such as in California where juveniles can be tried as adults.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Police quoted the students as saying they were just teasing Yamaguchi

Maybe it is just me but teasing is when you make a joke about someone and that person just laughs along with the teasers and/or takes it in stride. Hitting, kicking and shoving a hot boiled egg are all things that can injure or in the worst case even kill a person. I hope these idiots suffer the consequences.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Education lacks punishment, physical punishment like a good old smack in the face strong enough to make them spin.

If this is unacceptable as a counter measure to bullying then punishment by law. These kind of people should not be regarded as mere children who get away with almost anything by saying "sorry". A person died! A person who could have had a good future, probably contribute to society or to humanity as a whole.

A good 20-30 year imprisonment could pose as an example for the rest who dare to bully their classmates or other people.

And in cases when there are no suicides, expelling the offenders should be the choice, with a criminal record as a bonus.

This goes all around the world. Kid suddenly appears with daddy's gun and massacres a bunch of schoolmates and nobody has an idea of why he suddenly snapped. Kids commit suicide and parents are left grieving over the death of their children. All the while the truly guilty people run around like nothing happened.

An extreme but probably most effective would be making public punishments and humiliation to discourage wannabe offenders (especially thieves and killers).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

name the charges

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Many teachers, coaches, bosses... expect the sempais to deal with the kohai rather than deal with them on their own. They give power to these people who use it to excess. Then when the kohai become sempai, they want revenge and are just as nasty. I used to listen to 1st grade HS students moan about their sempai. When they became 3rd grade, they were just as bad. When I told them off one day about their behaviour the reply was "well it's our job and our turn now". The cycle continues and sadly, very few seem to remember how much they hated the treatment they were given when they were the pond scum. Japan supports this and breaking from it is "bad". And then folks wonder whhy kids and adults kill themselves or take revenge on society...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

They should also charge teachers who sometimes turn a blind eye... RIP

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They must do something, must do more campaign against bullying and should have punishment on this. Yearly in japan many students take their own life because of bullying.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Actually, Garthgoyle, I'd actually buy that they are sorry. The truth is that humans generally have a strong avulsion to causing death - it is ingrained the evolutionary process. They are probably not sorry for the ijime but if it led to a death they can be feeling guilty.

Not that I disagree with them serving jail time anyway. This kind of thing shouldn't be suspended.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What kind of charges? Felony? The need a very deserving punishment.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

AFAIK, even the Japanese word for "teasing", 嬲る (naburu), allows for a hitting component (though there are limits to how hard you can hit - if you are punching really hard the word is 殴る (naguru)), making it different from English "tease".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Police quoted the students as saying they were just teasing Yamaguchi and that they were sorry if it led to his suicide

No they're not sorry. Charge them with at least assault and give them jail time. They are not guilty for the youth's suicide but they're still guilty of all the times they assaulted and tormented him.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Punish the offenders ..re name the school AFTER the dead kid. that will show them the system means business.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

sf2kMar. 08, 2014 - 08:15AM JST name the charges

The Japanese legal system is a bit different in that there isn't a simple charge "assault", but rather "assault with injuries taking XX days to heal". In this case the charge, if the police chose to lay it, would be assault resulting in death. It is roughly equivalent to involuntary manslaughter (i.e. they didn't intend to kill, but it was a direct result of their assault).

As for the actual case, I'm suspicious. If these kids ACTUALLY did insert a boiling hot egg into this kid's mouth the tongue would be badly burnt and he wouldn't be able to speak for quite some time and probably would require medical treatment for the burns. I don't see how that sort of injury could escape notice.

A suicide note is compelling testimony, but it isn't actual evidence.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

A suicide note is compelling testimony, but it isn't actual evidence.

I think you mean it's evidence, but not necessarily conclusive evidence.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Happy to read they are facing charges. If that was teasing I'd hate to see what they think bullying is. Of course it is probably not that far from what they watched on tv.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

StrangerlandMar. 08, 2014 - 01:50PM JST

A suicide note is compelling testimony, but it isn't actual evidence.

I think you mean it's evidence, but not necessarily conclusive evidence.

Well, yes, testimony is a form of evidence. What I was getting at is that it is that suicide note should be viewed in context, as the writings of a person who was sufficiently mentally unbalanced to take their own life. The testimony of someone who was undoubtedly mentally unbalanced should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

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