Bullying Cases Spike in Japan

Six students commit suicide, 125K cases reported despite government plan
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2007 10:44 PM CST
Bullying Cases Spike in Japan
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) chats with elementary school children and eats school provided lunch at a Tokyo elementary school 07 December 2006. Japan is struggling to halt a sudden wave of student suicides as the nation agonizes over the prevalence of bullying at schools. JAPAN OUT AFP PHOTO/JAPAN...   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – School bullying cases have spiked sixfold in Japan this year, according to a new survey that highlights a dark issue in Japanese education. Officials blame the 125,000 cases on a recent, broader definition of bullying and the addition of more schools to the tally—but admit to six student suicides linked to bullying in 2007, up from only one last year.

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Bullying in Japan is often linked to pressure to conform and compete among students, the AP reports. In the 1990s, Tokyo struck back by launching alternative schools for bullying victims and giving lighter workloads to students. Officials continue to claim success despite today's numbers, saying that most bullying cases at the nation’s 40,000 schools have been settled. (Read more Japan stories.)

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