Father calls for tougher anti-bullying measures

A father whose son killed himself after being bullied has called for tighter anti-bullying measures, ten years after the boy's death.

The junior high school student's death in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture, led to the enactment of an anti-bullying law in Japan.

The school and the local education board initially did not admit that there was a causal link between the suicide and the actions of the bullies.

But it was later revealed that the student had been a target of vicious abuse. The boy's classmates had even told him to practice committing suicide. The police took the rare step of launching an investigation into the school and the education board.

The anti-bullying law requires schools to investigate all incidents, in which bullied students are injured or seriously harmed in any way. Schools are also required to share the results of their probes with the parents of the bullied students.

But the number of bullying incidents reported by schools across the country hit a record high in fiscal 2019.

The father spoke to NHK before the 10th anniversary of his son's death.

He said children's lives are still not being protected, even though the aim of the law is to protect their lives. He stressed that people should acknowledge that bullying can be so serious that it could force people to take their own lives.