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Educators recognize bullying triggered 13-year-old Aomori girl's suicide

AOMORI -- The father of a teenage girl who took her own life in 2016 disclosed on July 15 that a municipal panel provided him with a draft report stating her suicide was triggered by bullying by classmates.

Go Kasai, 40, the father of the girl, Rima, who died at age 13, disclosed the information during a news conference in the city of Aomori on July 15. An anti-bullying panel set up by the Aomori Municipal Board of Education, which has been looking into the events leading up to her suicide, is expected to finalize its report by early next month.

The girl took her own life on Aug. 25, 2016 after leaving a note complaining about bullying, when she was a second-year student at a municipal junior high school.

An earlier draft report compiled by the panel's predecessor in March 2017 had stated that the girl was suffering from "adolescent depression." Her family demanded a review of that draft report, arguing that it made it sound like the girl killed herself due to depression.

According to a lawyer representing the girl's family, the latest draft report omits the phrase "adolescent depression" and instead recognizes that Rima had been spoken ill of by her classmates via the free communication app Line, and that she had been shut out of a group, concluding that these incidents constituted bullying and led to her suicide.

The members of the earlier panel stepped down at the end of May last year when their terms expired, before filing a report on the case. The new panel members began investigations into the suicide in December last year.

(Japanese original by Shunsuke Ichimiya, Aomori Bureau)

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