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Parents of suicide bullying victim settle out of court with Otsu city

8 Comments

The parents of a 13-year-old junior high school boy who committed suicide after suffering from bullying at his school in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture in 2011, have settled a suit against the city out of court.

The Otsu government agreed this week to pay the boy's parents 13 million yen in damages, Sports Nippon reported.

However, a second suit filed by the parents against the three boys who bullied their son, is ongoing.

The high-profile case sparked a debate in Japan over bullying and the role of schools, boards of education and the city government in protecting children from bullies.

The boy leapt to his death in October 2011 from an apartment building in Otsu. Shortly after, it came to light that bullies routinely forced him to “practice” killing himself before he took his own life, and that his teacher brushed off the abuse as a joke.

After the boy's death, the school asked students to respond to a questionnaire on bullying. More than 60 students answered that they had seen the boy being bullied in the three weeks before he committed suicide. 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.

Initially, the school said it did not think the bullying was a direct cause of the boy's death, but after news of the questionnaire was leaked, school officials conceded that bullying may have been responsible. In a second survey, some students reported seeing the bullies forcing the boy to take part in a mock funeral.

After the first questionnaire results came out, the school coerced the boy's parents into signing a confidentiality agreement before it would let them see the results. The boy's father signed the document but was outraged when he read the account of what had happened to his son, NHK reported.

Public indignation over the case resulted in a series of bomb threats against the school and the local government over claims of negligence in the case. A letter sent to the school threatened that the building would be bombed unless the pupils and teachers involved apologize.

The father of the boy has also criticized police over the case. After the questionnaire results were made public, he went to the police but said they refused to accept the complaint on three occasions, claiming that complaints cannot be lodged in the event that the victim is deceased and was not murdered. They also said the boy left no suicide note indicating what might have driven him to kill himself.

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8 Comments
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I remember this case. This case is what brought bullying into the limelight instead of hiding it in the background.

Good on the family for suing the city and winning. The school, definitely, should be held responsible too. I'm not sure if the family will win the other case but I hope they do.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why is it that money makes everything 'better' in Japan...?

Do you really think that this would make everything better? If so, you don't understand humanity very well.

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How can they enjoy blood money paid to them for their son's death? Why is it that money makes everything 'better' in Japan...?

You're assuming a lot. You're assuming that the parents are going to "enjoy" receiving this money. I have a suspicion that they would prefer getting their son back over ANY monetary amount. That's never going to happen, though, so you penalize the people involved with taking their son away in a manner that will get their attention: their bank accounts.

Good on the family for suing the city and winning. The school, definitely, should be held responsible too. I'm not sure if the family will win the other case but I hope they do.

The parents didn't win the lawsuit because the city settled out of court before a verdict was reached.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Initially, the school said it did not think the bullying was a direct cause of the boy’s death

This sounds like such a cop out. I'd really like to see these people subjected to the same torture that this boy was so they could truly put themselves in his shoes. Regardless of what other problems he may have had going on in his life, I doubt anything could have been worse than the bullying he went through that was brushed off by teachers. It makes me sick to my stomach to think that adults can witness a child being bullied and just "brushed off the abuse as a joke." I hope they have a hard time sleeping at night knowing they could have stepped up and done something about it.

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Geoff Gillespie: So Japanese. How can they enjoy blood money paid to them for their son's death? Why is it that money makes everything 'better' in Japan...?

It's the only legal avenue to retribution the State has left the People. The State's not gonna do it as much as it could, either, lots of times.

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Sounds like lying is a natural part of the educator's job. It comes so easy.

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Lock them up, I say. They should process the bullies like adults and give them a prison sentence. Those more than 60 are as guilty as the bullies themselves. They could have prevent it; Instead, they turn their backs on the whole matter as if wasn't their problem. The result: A life is lost and mourning parents suffering their son's death.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So Japanese. How can they enjoy blood money paid to them for their son's death? Why is it that money makes everything 'better' in Japan...?

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

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