Japanese parliament adopts anti-bullying law
TOKYO, June 21 (RAPSI) - The Upper House of the Japanese parliament Friday adopted a law aimed at preventing bullying in schools, according to RIA Novosti.
The law was drafted after a junior high student in western Japan killed himself in 2011 after having been severely bullied.
The school's management refused to admit that bullying was the reason for the 13-year-old boy's suicide. However, details of the harassment came to light months later, following a student survey conducted by the city's board of education, in which students wrote that the bullying escalated to "punching and kicking" and that the bullies made the teen "practice" committing suicide.
The school management said it had not considered the acts as anything more than a game.
The anti-bullying law prohibits any action that causes physical or mental suffering. The law also states that posting malicious comments on the Internet constitutes bullying.
In addition to physical attacks, long absence from school due to bullying is considered a serious problem.
School management will be required to report such cases to police.
Furthermore, special panels of psychologists and professional counselors will be established at schools and district education committees to investigate and prevent bullying.
The bill, which was jointly drafted by six ruling and opposition parties, will become effective in the fall. By that time, the Education Ministry will draft and send to schools detailed instructions on implementing the law.