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Japan's draft bill defines bullying

Publication Date : 30-01-2013


Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party(LDP)'s draft bill on a basic law for anti-bullying measures has defined bullying to include a wide variety of cases, including malicious Internet postings, it has been learned.

The LDP has already called on its coalition partner New Komeito and opposition parties including the Democratic Party of Japan for their cooperation in passing the bill, which the LDP plans to submit to the current ordinary Diet session, sources said Monday.

The draft summary of the bill stipulates that a third-party body must be established by a school to investigate a suspected case of bullying that results in endangering a student's life, serious injuries, damage to property or long absences from school.

The bill was drafted by the LDP Headquarters of the Revitalisation of Education, chaired by House of Representatives member Toshiaki Endo, in the wake of a series of high-profile bullying cases.

Although other parties have not yet made a decision on the bill, the LDP wants it to be sponsored by suprapartisan lawmakers.

Under the bill, direct cases of bullying, as well as a wide range of other instances, such as ostracisation from a group or class, would be recognised.

The bill defines bullying as "a psychological or physical attack conducted by a person who has a certain degree of personal relationships with children or students that causes the attacked children or students to sustain psychological or physical damage."

The bill's definition also includes online bullying, including malicious postings on Internet forums and blogs.

Some LDP members are even arguing that discrimination and corporal punishments by teachers should also be defined as bullying.

In addition to the requirement to establish a third-party fact-finding body for bullying cases, the draft also stipulates schools must immediately report to police when a student's life is endangered by acts that may violate laws, including instances of violence.

School principals and teachers will also be required to take disciplinary action against students who bully others based on the School Education Law, when necessary.

Such disciplinary actions may include punishments such as cleaning classrooms.

The bill also stipulates the positive use of municipal education board's authority to suspend bullies from school.

It also urges the central and local governments to promote the appointments of school counselors to prevent bullying, the sources added.


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