Japan Data

School Bullying Drops by 15.6% in Japan During Pandemic


Children found their lives significantly affected in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic meant schools were closed for long periods of time and events like sports days and excursions were canceled. While bullying cases dropped, absenteeism rose for the eighth consecutive year in Japan.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology conducted an annual study on problematic student behavior and school absenteeism in Japan, revealing that 517,163 cases of bullying in total were reported at public and private elementary, junior high, and high schools nationwide in 2020. This was a 15.6% decrease from 2019 and the first such drop in seven years. The ministry believes this was due to the simultaneous closure of schools and restriction of club activities during the pandemic, meaning less days at school and reduced communication between students.

By school level, elementary schools reported 420,897 cases, junior high schools 80,877, and high schools 13,126. The main category of bullying was “teasing, threatening, or insults.” The number of reported cases involving “online slander either by mobile phone or computer” hit a record high of 18,000.

Meanwhile, cases of absenteeism, in which students did not attend school for more than 30 days, rose year-on-year by 8.2% to 196,127. This marks the eighth consecutive annual rise and the highest figure yet. A breakdown of cases showed that those at elementary schools went up by 18.7% from the previous year to 63,350 and junior high schools were up 3.8% at 132,777. This increase is thought to be partly due to the many restrictions that were placed on school life during the pandemic and the disruption it brought to students’ lives.

In order to avoid contracting COVID-19, 14,238 elementary school, 6,667 junior high, and 9,328 high school students did not go to school for periods of more than 30 days. Cases where parents consulted with the school were not treated as non-attendance.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

school bullying COVID-19 pandemic absenteeism