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Bullying cited as strong factor in suicide of Kobe teenage girl in 2020

Members of the third-party committee explain the investigation report on the suicide of a female student in 2020 at a press conference at the municipal board of education in Kobe's Chuo Ward on Dec. 9, 2022. (Mainichi/Shinya Yamamoto)

KOBE -- A third-party committee set up by the Kobe Municipal Board of Education to probe the suicide of a 14-year-old junior high school girl in 2020 has concluded in a report that bullying was a strong factor in her suicide.

    According to the report submitted to the superintendent of the city's education board on Dec. 9, the girl was bullied severely in the fifth year of elementary school. After entering a municipal junior high school in Kobe's Tarumi Ward, the group bullying targeting her escalated. In the third year of junior high school, the female student was placed in the same class as the bully, which intensified the burden she felt in attending class. As bullying actually took place, it significantly damaged her self-esteem, according to the report.

    The teen was found dead at home on the morning of Sept. 5, 2020. A note on her desk read, "I'm tired of school" and "I wish I could die."

    At her family's request, the education board established a third-party committee. The lawyer representing her family had claimed that the materials left behind strongly suggested that bullying took place.

    (Japanese original by Shinya Yamamoto, Kobe Bureau)

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