The mayor of Otsu City in Shiga Prefecture on Wednesday apologized to the father of the 13-year-old boy who killed himself after being bullied at school last October.
The boy's 47-year-old father was accompanied by his lawyer during the 90-minute meeting with Otsu Mayor Naomi Koshi, which was open to the media.
Koshi admitted that the school and the Otsu Board of Education were lax for not taking action to prevent the bullying and called their investigation into the suicide shoddy, TBS reported.
The father has filed a damages suit against the school and board of education which initially said there was no link between the bullying two weeks before the boy's death last Oct 13, even though two questionnaires given to students after the boy's suicide revealed that at least 60 students had witnessed the bullying.
Last week, both the school and board reversed their stance and said they now believed bullying led to the boy killing himself by leaping from a building.
At Wednesday's meeting, the two sides disagreed over the formation of a third-party panel to investigate the circumstances leading up to the suicide.
Mayor Koshi said the panel of experts will hold private meetings, but the boy's father said the panel cannot be handpicked by the city, TBS reported. He demanded that the family be allowed to nominate experts from outside the city. He also said the meetings should not be closed to the public and media.
Meanwhile, police on Wednesday will begin interviewing the boys who wrote in the questionnaires that they witnessed the bullying. According to the answers, three bullies punched the boy in the toilet, forced him to eat dead bees, pulled down his pants and taped his mouth.© Japan Today