Now police as well as teachers have come under fire, this time for telling a boy who was beaten unconscious and suffered broken ribs and PTSD in as a result of bullying that “it’d be best to forget about” the attack, and for refusing to accept any crime had taken place.
A 13-year-old middle schooler at a private school in Tokyo’s Tama region found himself being bullied, a distressingly common state of affairs it would seem.
According to his mother, the bullying started with classmates making him strip and wash his hair with soap, and dumping his clothes and bento in a bin, but soon escalated even further. Teachers apparently knew but did nothing.
In January matters came to a head – quite literally – when his classmates bashed him into unconsciousness by banging his head on a concrete corridor floor at the school, requiring him to be taken to hospital in an ambulance.
He was found to be suffering a broken rib and was subsequently diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, preventing him from attending school. He was transferred out of the school several months later.
His parents were unsurprisingly aghast at what had been done to him, and attempted to report the incident to police as a case of battery, making 4 or 5 different reports.
Police merely told them “it’d be best for you to forget about this as soon as possible” and that “the offender is 12 so even if we did press charges not much is likely to happen,” refusing to accept any of the reports.
The parents have said they intend to try suing the boy responsible (or his parents) if police refuse to act on the offence they reported.
Part of the reason for their refusal, and perhaps the reason why Japan boasts such a famously high conviction rate, is likely that police performance and promotion prospects are judged by the number of successful prosecutions – and rather than allow any convictions to fail, police instead merely ignore crimes which might be difficult or inconvenient to prosecute whilst attempting to wring confessions out of or pile unrelated charges onto those in weak positions.
Police have predictably refused to comment on the incident, whilst the school now says it is all well in hand:
“The student who attacked him was advised to drop out of the school and left in January. Regarding the bullying, we were contacted by police in June and are explaining the situation to them.”
Coming after a series of recent school scandals – the suicide of a Shiga schoolboy, a boy tortured with cigarette burns who teachers tried to expel after deeming he had “consented” to the abuse, a girl who was sent home in tears after teachers forcibly cut her hair “for being too long,” and of course the usual ongoing litany of sexual misconduct by staff, there is fast developing a sense that Japan’s schools are beyond help…