crime

Parents of bullied high school boy file criminal charges in Miyagi

69 Comments

The parents of a 16-year-old boy in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, have filed charges against classmates who bullied him at school.

The case follows the high profile suicide of a bullied junior high school student from Otsu in Shiga Prefecture which hit headlines nationwide.

Fuji TV reported Tuesday that since last November, the boy was punched and had his arm burned with cigarettes over 20 times. In July, the bullying had become so severe that the boy could no longer attend school.

The boy's parents told reporters that the school felt the boy's burns were disturbing other students and subsequently asked him to leave the school, Fuji reported. The school has so far refused to comment to media.

Following his expulsion, the boy's parents said they decided to take action to force his assailants to confess to bullying him.

In the Japanese media, the filing of criminal charges is being taken as a sign that students are becoming more likely to speak out against their tormentors now that bullying has become a national talking point.

Police say an investigation into the nature of the alleged bullying is now underway.

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69 Comments
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how many times would this bully topics in japan's school would end? it's really horrible that even the teachers hide the crime.. knowing that their own students did that horrible thing, so hyprocrite! they don't know how to protect their students from other bad students, the teachers, only think, that their school would be close if the police would find the truth, and if that happens , they are so frightened that they gonna loose their jobs.. so damn.. how pity for the students whose so weak to be bullied!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The boy’s parents told reporters that the school felt the boy’s burns were disturbing other students

what? So the school did nothing but now want him out because they did nothing. That's discrimination, that they are a party in creating.

Sue them all

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In the Japanese media, the filing of criminal charges is being taken as a sign that students are becoming more likely to speak out against their tormentors now that bullying has become a national talking point.

Then the media has it wrong. The filing of criminal charges should be taken for what it is, which is that parents and bullying victims are forced into this action because they have no other recourse, the schools, boards of education and police having miserably failed in their respective roles to protect the safety and human rights of bullied students.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

btw I believe the Japanese word for onslaught is a better word for the situation, rather than the translation for bullying. I believe this word would give different connotations.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The logic of the school makes sense to me. This issue isnt just one for Japan-it is about parents being responsible for their children-an issue in most countries. If the boy was repeatedly burnt and the parents hadnt done anything, it seems logical given the position that the school is in, and that is protecting all children, that they asked the child to leave. Whereby protecting him at the least from further bullying, because his parents obviously didnt feel the need to do anything until he was asked to leave the school. Luckily the parent's pride was right up there, and they did take the matter further, and press charges. I reckon that this school did the best they could given the lack of responsible parenting all-round; they protected and have helped all the children involved. I wish people on this list would quit whining about Japan this and that. Pathetic parents are everywhere. Furthermore as this article points out, this move is now a sign that people will speak out about bullying. Thank goodness.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The teachers and administrators should be charged with murder as well as the kids. The adults holds more responsibility for what happened.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Matthew, you are absolutely correct. Hope Japanese society sees this as the way you have just said. Excellent post.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For kids its called bullying for adults its called assault or harassment. If they were adults they would already be behind bars.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Saving face at its extreme. Even at the expense of an innocent.

Shameful beyond words.

S

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS! The SCHOOL MUST BE CHARGED AS WELL! What are schools for? The behaviour of the teachers are SIMPLY DESPICABLE! What about the Japanese government? Are they going to face up to the UGLINESS of bullying incidences in their school? Or do they just simply DISMISS it as something trival, not at all WORTHY OF ANY ATTENTION? NO WONDER CRIMES AFTER CRIMES ARE COMMITTED EACH DAY IN JAPAN! Not a tourist spot for me! DEFINITELY NOT!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The parents of a 16-year-old boy in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, have filed charges against classmates who bullied him at school.

Glad to hear this. Bullying against someone is a CRIME. This is a good start, and Japan needs a long term government policy or soluton to stop this criminal act. I am suggesting you may want to consider adopting a similar law listed below:

http://www.stopbullying.gov/

Good luck.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@patrick hagger "The greedy should not be rewarded, because of the hurt feelings of a few. So called Bully Laws are prejudice and baseless." Did you say this for effect? Do you have kids? How much do you plan to pay for their education? How much have you invested already? Aren't they entitled to a s* free environment during their formative years and early education? Put a cost on a single life for me. A life is precious and priceless and in this case the school, as a guardian was reckless and irresponsible. Most people don't sue because of greed and quite a few donate some of the proceeds to worthy causes.** I hope the family goes for the jugular! This crap will continue until Japanese families stop accepting televised "gomenasai's" from old farts who do not take responsibility and surely aren't proactive.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Good grief! I've just seen the picture of these burns and they are in a grid pattern. That says to me a highly premeditated and cruel act. This poor kid was probably pinned down and tortured slowly while these injuries were delivered. The perpetrators are evil and should be locked up. How much more of this is going on? I hope it encourages others to step forward.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@gyroman It's good to see the parents standing up for action. However, does anybody else here feel like the parents should have noticed the burns sooner, or taken some action earlier, before the expulsion?

Remember this is Japan and people are brought up to obey authority and keep quiet in the face of discomfort. It is only recently that people are seeing that they can object to things and put forward a contrary opinion, as we have seen on a national scale with all this nuclear debacle. Even in the face of the suffering it must have been a difficult choice to go against those years of social programming and being cowed to speak up. I imagine the recent tragedy and the concern about bullying it brought up gave these parents more confidence to tackle the issue. The ball is now rolling. Kudos to the parents to do what must have been a very difficult thing, mush more difficult than in western countries where it's easy to say 'I'd have done this' or 'I'd have done that'. It's a different mindset so I'd be willing to cut these parents some slack.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

there was obviously a lack of communication between the son and his parents, but i don't think it's fair to be too hard on the parents, as these types of burn mark initiations into the in-group are not unheard of, as other posters have mentioned.

it has also been noted that the kid lied to his teacher about the burn marks, so he was obviously lying to his parents as well. probably both out of shame and a feeling of now where to turn for a way to resolve the situation.

when the situation got out of hand, and the despicable school expels the kid without really investigating the origin of those marks (apparently he is the only kid with such a collection), then his parents took action.

granted, the parents should have prohibited their son from associating with the in-group he was purportedly burning himself to be one of, then they would have realized earlier that something was wrong when the number of marks increased.

this school is just beyond deplorable, though. expelling the victim puts out a sort of "might is right" message to the bullies, basically rewarding their activity and encouraging them onward to a life of crime.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Obviously it's NOT just about parenting, but about the schools as well. The school literally ignored the kid's suffering and instead of addressing the bullying asked the boy not to attend the school. If you can't see the flawed logic in that then I think you've got a problem as well.

It's all about parenting, from the start to finish, if YOU can't see why then I do believe you have a problem.

If parents have good relationships with their children when incidents like this occur the parents get involved faster, BEFORE it gets to the point where there is physical abuse.

I CAN see the reasoning behind how and why a private school would choose to take this course of action, and from what it seems is that private schools take this course most often than not. There very existence depends upon good PR and problems like this are best dealt with by getting rid of the problems.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Patrick HaggerAUG. 07, 2012 - 11:47PM JST The greedy should not be rewarded, because of the hurt feelings of a few. So called Bully Laws are prejudice and baseless.

Bitter much?

Children deserve a safe environment to learn in. Wouldn't you fight for your kid if you saw this happen to them? How may I ask, is this greedy?

It is obvious this goes beyond hurt feelings when there is physical harm inflicted. Calling actions against kids that torment other kids prejudice and baseless is rather appalling, especially when it is precisely that these cases keep occurring cause there are no laws to deal appropriately such instances.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If the boy himself is claiming to have informed the school officials that the burns were self inflicted then we can't really say the school ignored the bullying. I wonder though if they ever called the parents in before expelling him to discuss the boys mental health if he is causing himself injury? No matter what the boy reported, the ball was dropped. Obviousley there was something going on in this boys life that needed to be looked into and the school found it easier to sweep it under the rug instead of helping him. I am happy to see the parents filing charges against the bullies. If the Japanese are truly the "sheeps" that folks have claimed them to be in many other threads, may they also follow this example and start filing more complaints and charges against the bullies in their own schools.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan really takes school bullying to another level.

And God forbid if the kid is non-Japanese... It really is truly shocking and horrifying what happens underneath the cover.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

had his arm burned with cigarettes over 20 times. Mutilating his skin ???? Yes, they should go to jail or juvenile jail

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The greedy should not be rewarded, because of the hurt feelings of a few. So called Bully Laws are prejudice and baseless.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Japan really takes school bullying to another level. Its only because the victims end up killing themselves that we don't have much school massacres in Japan. Leave it to Japanese schools for punishing students who are "different" as a result of physical abuse. I've mentioned this before, the issue is in everything: parents, teachers, kids. The deep underlying cruelty that lies behind the facade of "peacefulness" in Japanese culture.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

It's got nothing to do with the country, the problem is with the parenting.

Ok, so what about the teacher who blamed the victim?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

smithinjapan:

The school literally ignored the kid's suffering and instead of addressing the bullying.."

$$ just to play devil's advocate, let's say the school didn't actually witness it occur.. then they would assume the marks on the boys arm were from home, possibly torture from a parent. Maybe they confronted the boy and he said he wouldnt say where they came from. He most likely wouldnt rat out the bullies, would mean even worse torture. So, that leaves us with the parents. They KNEW it wasnt occurring in the home. What did they do about it when their child was alive? (that said, there obviously was a huge problem with a lack of communication by the adults in this situation.. then again, maybe the boy hid his scars at home... anyways, just sayin..and no, I'm def'y not siding with the school in this...)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

the problem is with the parenting.

Or lack thereof! And that is to do with the country! How can you parent when you are working overtime everyday for no extra money because you dont have the spine to point out the law of the land? How can you be parented when you come home from school late everyday doing the same practice routine at club all year long with no breaks even during your vacations?

This has so much to do with the country its not funny!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Yubaru: "It's got nothing to do with the country, the problem is with the parenting."

I see these parents taking out a law suit, which is a good thing. Too little too late, perhaps, but at least they are acting. Obviously it's NOT just about parenting, but about the schools as well. The school literally ignored the kid's suffering and instead of addressing the bullying asked the boy not to attend the school. If you can't see the flawed logic in that then I think you've got a problem as well. I don't mean to be rude, but seriously.... the school takes a large chunk of the blame here, hands down. It'll be interesting to see how they address the issue now that there is a lawsuit. I hope they get the bejeezus sued out of them, and I hope criminal charges follow.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Bullying must not be anymore tolerable at any rates...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's got nothing to do with the country, the problem is with the parenting.

If people cant open their eyes to that fact then it's probably best not to have kids!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Sadly once again I am truly tankful the wife & I have no kids, I cudnt forgive myself for raising children in this country, its downright nasty........

Like it or not if you have this attitude it is probably best that you don't have any kids.

The country has nothing to do with it, it's the parenting.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Every place has bullying, but in Japan, its different and more focused on certain people who get it over and over. I think a reason for this is the system of making each class like a team, keeping that class together as much as possible, and fostering a team spirit in that class throughout the year, even having competitions between classes. The thing is, in every group, someone will be at the bottom of the totem pole. And if you never break up the group, it will always be the same person.

Further, no one will stick up for that person because it will harm their own status in the group.

Its not like this where I come from because the students form their own groups, and the groups are smaller. People get bullied sure, but from born bullies, not half a class working in concert. Further, people often stand up for people getting bullied because they are from another group and there is no risk to their status. In fact, it now increases their status because they stood up to a separate group.

I dont know if Japan can continue with this class group thing and find a solution to prevent this sort of mass bullying, but I tell you, I have no hope for them. Especially in junior high, I think they need to just do away with most of the kumi system and give every student their own personal schedule. That experience will also help them break free of the group dynamics that also plague Japanese even into adulthood which also includes bullying, just in a more subtle passive/aggressive style.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Japan can be a real sick place, same as others I just cannot comprehend the gross utter incompetence in so many areas of this case.

Sadly once again I am truly tankful the wife & I have no kids, I cudnt forgive myself for raising children in this country, its downright nasty........

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Have anyone considered the following? Kid is being burned every day but covers his arm up while being ashamed of his own weakness. Bullies parents are influential yakuza who make generous annual donations to the school. Victim doesn't have the best relationship with patents, especially with dad, who always pressured him to be strong without success.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

And don't hold back on publicising the name of the school and the principal either (who had to oversee the expulsion). They need to be held to account.

It really seems to me that the people of Japan are finally starting to make their voices heard in more and more ways (re: stories on bullying, nuclear power and not accepting freshman jobs that don't suit) - and this is a good thing.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Never take chances with bullying. Please, make sure you understand what is going on, when your child, friend, coworker, family member, appears to be distressed for unknown reasons. Go to pains to discover whats wrong in a non critical way. The most 'successful' of cruel bullying, is the kind that makes the target feel afraid or ashamed, so that they feel unable to seek help. Help MUST be given - in those circumstances. Talk about it in other ways - indirectly.Talk about situations you think seem similar, and get them to comment. Do not try to force any replies, because that may add to the sense of threat.. Let's take care of each other. Bullies are everywhere, not just in schools. You know it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Shocking!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I cannot fathom the logic behind the decision undertaken by the school to ask the kid to leave the school because "burns were disturbing other students". They failed even greater at not being aware of the bullying and stopping it. The full weight of the law (if there is any) should be brought to bear upon them as an example to others who either choose to ignore bullying and do nothing about it.

The trauma of the victims who experience bullying are usually carried through their whole lives. Those who perpetuate it and those who do nothing about it are equally guilty. Once again the system there seems so socially inept.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan just keeps sinking lower and lower... and we're not talking about the economy.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ok here is some information from tonight's news;

First the school is a private school, and like many if not most private HS in Japan their way of dealing with bullying and problems related to bullying is by having the student quit or tossing them. There is little recourse for parents as they are not public schools.

Second, the boy claimed to have done it to himself when talked to by his teacher. The bullying came out later.

I am just passing along information, my personal opinions are not included here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I honestly cannot believe that something like this can happen in a supposedly "civilized" country?

Japan is Faraway from that!

to what i can see over the Year here, Japan is just a 3rd world country with a first grade economic.

Beging the Thumbs down!!! :)

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Does anyone know if the school actually knew if the kid was burned by bullies? When I was a kid, a lot of kids/punks did this to themselves as a type of initiation or to prove they were tough guys/gals. You'd think if he was bullied and/or ashamed of the burn marks, he'd roll down his sleeves...and looking at the pics he is wearing long sleeves. If the school/educators did know, then yes, they deserve to be punished. Just playing the devil's advocate, because I'd like to think that they school would take action when there is physical evidence such as this.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Sendai seems to have really really stupid people in charge of that school! What the hell are they thinking kicking out the VICTIM?? Some people in this country need to grow up and also GROW some huevos! How in the hell can anybody be burned and not do anything?? Why did it take the parents take so long to find these burns?? At least they called the POLICE and I hope they get good LAWYERS to sue the HELL out of this stupid school!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Fantastic news, really great. Finally someone has been able to take that first step to legally combat these nasty people. I dont know if they will win or lose, but that is not important, just taking the action will have some effect for the better. It will really get this problem out in the open where people wont be able to ignore it anymore.

The problem, as far as I`m concerned, has been the Japanese mindset - trying to get along with everyone, trying to avoid making trouble, which just made the problem worse. Sorry to say this, but I truly believe the Japanese mindset was the root of this problem. Now someone has finally drawn the line in the sand, we will probably see some very positive changes in this country.

It`s a pity that foreign news agencies never take a serious interest in local Japanese events, that also would have brought attention to this problem much earlier.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

You know I sit back and read these articles and seriously try to consider both sides of the story most of the time. You know, what was going through Mom and Dad's minds, the boy being bullied, the bullies, the teachers, the administration, etc etc etc. Not trying to justify or find fault, just trying to stay impartial until I get enough information to make a fair judgement.

This is one case where I fail to come up with any plausible explanation for the actions of the school after finding out about the situation. Disgust is not even close enough to being a strong enough word to describe my feelings on the matter. Sadly however that seeing as how this is Japan the culprits in question will not face any serious consequences as they are minors. They should be tried as adults, but since it happened in a school, I highly doubt that will happen.

I also have some SERIOUS questions for the parents too. Foremost being that since this has been going on since last freeking November so Mom and Dad WHAT THE HECK IS UP BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR CHILD!?!?!?!!!!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Parents are way late.

One burn is one burn too many.

Wake up, these are your children!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Expect the school to pretend to be sorry by the end of the week, and to proclaim they had 'no way of knowing', etc. etc. Then in two weeks they'll admit they could have done more and will prostrate themselves and say sorry. Nothing will be done about it though, of course. An apology and a shoulder shrug, and the courts will let it go.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

" The boy’s parents told reporters that the school felt the boy’s burns were disturbing other students and subsequently asked him to leave the school, Fuji reported. "

So the school´s response to a severe bullying situation was to kick out the victim?? I am speechless.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I hope they win BIG TIME. It will set precendence on taking bullying seriously for once!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Saw the burn marks on the news last night, horrific.

The school is a disgrace, are the school administration intimidated by these bullies?

Sadly the schools actions did not surprise me all that much, there is a Japanese proverb that highlights their twisted reasoning for expelling the victim, "The nail that sticks out gets hammered down." Just as my friend was forced to dye her hair black when she was in elementary school in spite of being naturally brown. Happy that the kid will be ok and that his family is fighting this, hope the courts give them some form of justice.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"The boy’s parents told reporters that the school felt the boy’s burns were disturbing other students and subsequently asked him to leave the school, Fuji reported. The school has so far refused to comment to media."

Once again, we're seeing criminal negligence that could well have resulted in suicide like in Otsu. ANYONE who suggested this boy should leave school because the cigarette burns were disturbing others needs to be fired immediately and have any and all licenses to teach stripped from them.

As for the 'investigation under way', what does it take? My guess is this is just another example of what happens in school -- sit the bully down and try to get them to say 'moushiwake arimasen' and hope the problem goes away without having to do anything. Bullying occurs everywhere in the world, but only in Japan is it accepted with a shouganai after countless denials. I applaud these parents for the lawsuit, and hope it helps change things. And I hope the school gets the crap sued out of it.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

I have a hard time believing what I'm reading in this article. It makes my hair stand on end.

These school officials and teachers should be incarcerated, with hard labor.

I can't even begin to imagine where to start with the bullies.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

GOOD - get these bullies BEFORE we lose another kid to suicide. The school told this poor kid that his burned arm was disturbing other students? Christ, I'd think the BULLYING is what is disturbing other students! This has to end now, good for parents having the fire to fight this thing!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Disgusting school!!! I hope they get fried for making the poor kid leave!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Agree with all above here. Something is terribly wrong with some of these schools. I guess I would go to prison but if it were my kid, these punks would get their legs broken with a good old hickory axe handle. Agree with Ronald F Stark. This is torture!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

this is a fabulous start - there are many more that can be sued. it is about time that people get angry and do something like this. it needs attention. i am rooting for you parents.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Have you seen those cigarette burn marks on this kid's arm? It's worse that what some people get in torture sessions. The TV stations have been showing a picture of the burns over and over. Gruesome. If you've ever been near the lit end of a cigarette, you know it's hot ... extremely hot. And this kid has been burned more than 20 times! And the school seems to be supporting the bullies. If so, the principal and his staff should be banished to the prison at Abashiri in northern Hokkaido ... like forever. Somebody high up in that school is sick, sick ...

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Sick sick Japanese mindset of the school.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Also, if the 16 years old is being bullied by, I guess other 16 year olds, and being burned with cigarettes, which are for people over 20, the school also has that to comment on, surely? Why they knew some of their underage students had cigarettes and the school didn't seem to care about it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Police say an investigation into the nature of the alleged bullying is now underway.

Anybody who gets to see these burns will soon realise what a load of keystones the J cops are. The burns are all up his arm and more than bullying, this a solid case of GBH - Grevious Bodily Harm.

What makes other children do this to another child? There are some very sick children around

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

The time has come to "name and shame" the school administrators in the media for allowing this sort of thing to happen, and taking such idiotic measures AGAINST THE VICTIM! I honestly cannot believe that something like this can happen in a supposedly "civilized" country? It's good to see parents getting involved and filing charges. For burning someone with a cig I think the charges should be kicked up a notch .. to say, TORTURE!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

It's good to see the parents standing up for action. However, does anybody else here feel like the parents should have noticed the burns sooner, or taken some action earlier, before the expulsion?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The boy’s parents told reporters that the school felt the boy’s burns were disturbing other students and subsequently asked him to leave the school, Fuji reported. The school has so far refused to comment to media.

I hope they're filing negligence claims against the school as well.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The school asked him to leave? What is wrong with this school!?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

It takes courage to do this. This type of bullying is criminal assault.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

The boy’s parents told reporters that the school felt the boy’s burns were disturbing other students and subsequently asked him to leave the school, Fuji reported. The school has so far refused to comment to media.

What an absolute joke this school is. I know common sense isnt a strong Japanese trait but this is plain negligence on the part of the school. A kid has burns on his arm, the school notices them. What does the school do, does it talk to the student, does it contact the authorities (l know, l know bit of a joke expecting the j-flops to do anything). Does the school take any proactive action to protect the kid? Nope it kicks him out. If l was the parents not only would l sue the school, the teacher and the principal, but also every single kid involved in the torture of this poor kid.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

"the school felt the boy’s burns were disturbing other students and subsequently asked him to leave the school"

WTF is that board of education doing when they request the victim to leave the school but the perpetrators are allowed to stay. Where the hell is the media on this issue? Sure it's shameful but do your job and expose the idiots in charge of things for the fools they are.

Principal and teachers are more concerned about singing a song than student safety.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The boys parents told reporters that the school felt the boys burns were disturbing other students and subsequently asked him to leave the school, Fuji reported.

Sounds like typical J-logic to me... If this is true, the head of the school should be fired for incompetence.

The schools and teachers need to be totally retrained on how to spot and deal with bullying.

Also, not sure if it's true, but I was recently told that teachers receive negative comments (or points) on their report cards if their class has bullying. I was told this is a reason why teachers ignore the problem (not wanting to affect their own performance record)... If this is true, it should be changed so that teachers are rewarded for reporting and dealing with bullying...

Anyway, I wish the parents all the best. The bullying problem has to be dealt with, and I glad to see parents actually standing up and reacting for a change.

18 ( +20 / -3 )

The school's behavior is reprehensible, too, asking the boy to leave because the burn marks on his arms might upset other kids.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

go! there is no space for bullies on this planet. i hope they get "equal" punishment

15 ( +15 / -0 )

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