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Fukushima evacuee reportedly bullied at Yokohama school

A student who evacuated from the Fukushima nuclear disaster to Yokohama was reportedly bullied at his school and for a time stopped attending class, it has been learned.

    The parents of the boy, who is now 13, complained about his mistreatment to the Yokohama Municipal Board of Education. A third-person committee considered the conduct as bullying and created a report on the matter, writing that on at least one occasion a bully said to the boy, "You are getting compensation (for the nuclear disaster), aren't you?" and demanded money from the student.

    According to the report, the boy transferred from a school in Fukushima to a school in Yokohama while a second grader, in August 2011. Classmates called him "germ" and were violent toward him, and for a time he stopped going to school.

    The boy told the committee that while he was a fifth grader he was pressed to give money to the bullies, and paid from 50,000 to 100,000 yen in total to around 10 people over about 10 occasions in order to play at a game arcade.

    The student's parents informed the school about the bullying in 2014, but the school did not identify the actions as meeting the definition of a "serious situation" under an anti-bullying law. Bullying apparently continued off-and-on afterwards. In 2015 the student's parents again complained to the board of education about him being mistreated, and then a thorough investigation into the matter began.

    The report leveled criticism at educators, saying, "We did not see an active effort to deal with the situation," calling the response from educational authorities "the same as abandoning their education of the student."

    The Yokohama Municipal Board of Education held a press conference on Nov. 9, where a representative admitted, "The board of education's response and the school's response were insufficient." However, the board of education said details of the bullying "involved personal information" and for these and other reasons they refused to give more details on the matter.

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