Damages Ruling Finalized over High-Profile Bullying, Suicide Case

Society

Tokyo, Jan. 25 (Jiji Press)--Japan’s Supreme Court has upheld a high court ruling that ordered two former classmates of a boy who killed himself in 2011 at the age of 13 to pay damages totaling some 4 million yen.

While recognizing that the former classmates’ bullying of the victim, then a junior high school second-grader, caused the suicide, the top court’s First Petty Bench dismissed an appeal by the boy’s relatives for higher damages.

The finalized ruling was made on Thursday. The amount of damages determined by Osaka High Court in its verdict in February 2020 compared with 37.5 million yen ordered by Otsu District Court in February 2019.

The district court said it was predictable that the boy, a resident of Otsu, the capital of Shiga Prefecture, western Japan, might commit suicide as escalated violence by the two former classmates caused him to feel “a sense of despair.” A different former classmate who was also sued by the relatives was freed from the damages ruling, with the court concluding that the third former classmate was not integrally involved in the bullying.

The Osaka court said that the two former classmates’ acts were so dangerous as to potentially jeopardize the boy’s life and surely amounted to bullying, upholding the lower court’s recognition that the violence led to the suicide of the victim. But the high court drastically reduced the sum of compensation, determining that the relatives’ side failed to support the boy due to the separation of his parents and other circumstances.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press