An 8-year-old girl has committed suicide by hanging herself.
The 8-year-old girl, who resided together with her parents and 4 siblings in Osaka prefecture, was discovered by her 27-year-old mother on her return from work.
She had hanged herself by tying a towel around her neck and to a 1.8m high clothes rack on their apartment’s veranda, using a folding chair to reach the rack and as a platform from which to drop herself.
Her 29-year-old father immediately summoned emergency services, but the girl was later pronounced dead.
She is said to have been alone at home whilst her mother took other siblings to a nursery.
No note or other indication of why she chose to take her own life has been found.
Her parents previously complained to her school that somebody had vandalised her schoolbooks, writing her name and “die” on a total of 12 of them. At the time the girl took 8 days off school, but later returned.
The mother of one of her friends described her as “a polite little girl” and claims she was subject to harassment but seemed unaffected, whilst a local woman who knew the girl as “really cute” reports the girl had been the victim of physical abuse at the hands of classmates.
The school principal, pictured, feigns ignorance and denies any connection between the incident and the suicide, as might be expected:
“Some of the graffiti resembled her own handwriting, but we were unable to determine who wrote it. We don’t think her suicide was related to the graffiti. It’s truly regrettable that she lost her life like this.”
The local board of education backs the headteacher:
“Her condition at the time was stable – we consider the chance of the suicide being connected to bullying to be low.”
There is some suspicion the school is attempting to evade responsibility so they do not have to pay any compensation in the event their handling of the bullying turns out to be inadequate, as seems to be the case.
Police are treating the investigation as that of a suicide.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for young people in Japan, but elementary schooler suicides are exceedingly rare – since 1998 the less than 5 per year have been reported. In 2008 no incidents at all were recorded.