Children threatened with death if school doesn't cancel 'bonenkai'


Police in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, said Friday that the Miyagi Board of Education received a threatening note in the mail on Wednesday, in which the writer promised to kill a number of children if the staff at an elementary school did not cancel this year's "bonenkai" (end-of-year party).

According to police, the writer of the note threatened to target children on their way to school sometime after Friday morning. TBS reported that police and parents were on the streets frequented by children who walk to school, but there were no incidents.

The board of education said the school decided to cancel the "bonenkai" so as not to take any chances, TBS reported.

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Someone is really not feeling the festive spirit.

What kind of person would do this, except for someone who lives locally and hates - really hates - the sound of children enjoying themselves loudly?

7 ( +10 / -3 )

How can such a heartless jerk like that do this to children!?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

well i guess this terrorist got what he or she wanted.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Oh, I assumed it was the teachers' annual bonenkai.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Hope they find this creep quickly.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

One can understand why they decided not take the risk! Still a shame that the black mailer got his/hers way.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This is weird! I'm glad they took the threat seriously though. The mind boggles as to reasons for it. Was it someone with a grudge against the izakaya they were going to? Was it some insane monster parent that doesn't want teachers to drink? Or, the most likely scenario is, it it just some nut-job with nothing better to do.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

You know, this could have been a teacher who didn't want to attend because he/she had something better to do ...

9 ( +11 / -2 )

It disturbs me that this is not dealt with differently. By acquiescing to the demands in the letter, the writer now will feel empowered and who knows what his or her next step will be.

OK I get why the BOE "officially" cancelled the bonenkai, but what I really want them to do is all of them go out and have a Merry Christmas party or something else instead.

The cops (oopps did I just say that) have to do their job and protect the children along with the parents. Society can not be held terrorized by one person like this.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I understand the seriousness of safety but whenever a letter can cancel anything the writer wants you will always live in fear.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Yubaru. The police cant protect every child in the school at one. And you are suggesting for teachers to ignore the note and go have fun in the expense of in dangering children lives. Think what you are saying. Maybe Police can stand around places for a day or two to protect them but they wont be able to do that every single day. And just because the article doesn't say that police are looking for him/her doesn't mean that they are not.

I for one think that teachers did the right thing to be this careful. You want to drink and next morning find out that your little Yurie or Riko got stabbed to death because of your party? I don't think any teacher wants that on their head.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I bet it is a teacher who didn't want to go. I briefly worked with a teacher who stabbed herself and faked that she was attacked because she couldn't take being a teacher. (And this was a fairly rural school with mostly nice students)

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Why on earth do students have a bonenkai when they wouldn't done little or nothing in the days leading up to the holidays anyway?

And what sick person targets kids??

-12 ( +0 / -12 )

This kind of thing is horrible anyway, but when I think that it is kids living in an area that has been affected by one of the worst earthquakes and tsunamis ever, it makes it all the more sad.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Which elementary school? My family's boys go to one in that prefecture. I would want to know.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Another nutter.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Awwww...poor guy......wasn't invited?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The school division did the right thing. Sure, it's nice to stand up to extortion, but the risk-to-reward ratio in this instance was simply too high. Have a party, or be (relatively) sure the kids will be safe. The choice is a no-brainer.

Perhaps the police will find something about the letter that leads them to the culprit.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What a party pooper!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So basically this nut job gets his way. I'm all for protecting children, but you give in to these crazies once, and they'll come back for more.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So basically this nut job gets his way. I'm all for protecting children, but you give in to these crazies once, and they'll come back for more.

That would provide one more piece of evidence used to track them down.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I hope they catch this lunatic before he does something else. Having gotten his jollies this time I expect he'll try something else to get attention.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kudos to the school for cancelling the bonenkai so as not to take any chances, but it's a shame they had to. What a scumbag and a coward to say he/she will target children! Was there any reason given?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Disgruntled employee?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Some of the readers here think that because the translation is 'party' then it is something fun for the teachers to do.

Maybe there are a few schemers and social climbers who actually enjoy these semi-enforced events, but the majority cannot wait to get out of the room.

Whoever wrote the note knew that the thing would definitely be cancelled as Japanese authorities always play safe. The end, to him or her, justified the means, I guess.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Surprised at the number who actually support the school in cancelling the bonenkai. As if the sender was ever really going to murder because a party was not cancelled. The author of the note can now assume that he will get his way with this technique and will use it again. The school will eventually have to say no and that will really upset him.

The school should have handed it in to the police but gone ahead with the party.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Another sicko at large

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree with nandakandamanda. This is a kind of forced event, but the canceling of this event may have deeper roots than just someone who doesn't want to attend it. It could be a disagreement about money that is spent. But using children as a kind of "hostages" is just cowardly and wrong.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You know, this could have been a teacher who didn't want to attend because he/she had something better to do ...

Exactly. Who else would care what teachers do in their spare time?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ah_so: "Surprised at the number who actually support the school in cancelling the bonenkai. As if the sender was ever really going to murder because a party was not cancelled. "

No one is applauding the schools decision to cancel a forced annual event, they are saying the choice to put the safety of children first. You cannot say 100% that there was no threat, and with children's lives, even a 1% chance of them being hurt is too much of a risk. Would you be happy if they "didn't bow to terrorists" and then some children died because of a drinking party?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've thought of many different ways of getting out of paying for ridiculously overpriced bonenkais but this is certainly not one of them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

so who's the teacher responsible? I'm waiting to know

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Another distinct possibility could be a parent angry at the idea of teachers spending their taxpayer-funded salaries on lavish end-of-year parties while a number of people, including many of the parents of the children these teachers teach, remain unemployed or underemployed throughout Japan.

It was only a few years ago that prefectural boards of education advised schools to refrain from spending too much money on bounenkais in light of Japan's long economic stagnancy. Even with across-the-board nearly-annual civil servant pay cuts since 2001 in the range of 2~8% per year, a mid-career junior high school teacher, for example, will pull down an annual salary in the range of 740 million yen ($75,000).

Add to this the bi-annual bonuses, and you can see why a parent struggling to feed and clothe his or her children might take issue with end-of-year parties that can cost staff upwards of 250,000 yen, particularly with looming tax increases being the cornerstone of Abe's "Let's offer corporate Japan the backs of the little people to clamber upon on its way back to the top." economic policy.

Of course, it could just as well be a teacher angry about the very same issues.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Why would you ruin an end of the year party? I need a reason for that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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