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Nearly 50% of Fukushima evacuees felt harassed, the children bullied

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Nearly 50% of Fukushima evacuees felt harassed

A survey has found that nearly half of the former residents of Fukushima who were forced to evacuate their homes following the 2011 nuclear disaster experienced harassment of some sort.

NHK joined hands with Waseda University and others to survey households from four municipalities in the prefecture near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Of some 741 people who responded, 334 said that they have felt harassed or suffered emotional distress.

In the multiple-choice survey, 274 cited harassment linked to compensation they were entitled to.

In 197 cases, victims felt stressed by those who noted their evacuee status. Another 127 replies were related to the nuclear fallout.

One family was barred from a community event on the grounds they were evacuees. The car of another family was vandalized. Another victim was told he or she didn’t need a wage hike or new qualifications as the family had received compensation.

The survey showed that evacuees from Fukushima were harassed as much as their children due to prejudice and other factors.

A father, whose two children were subject to bullying after fleeing from Fukushima, said he, too, was told he wouldn’t need to work because if he complained to the operator of the plant, he will receive money. He told NHK he no longer tells anyone they are from Fukushima.

Waseda University professor Takuya Tsujiuchi says people have forgotten that compensation is provided to people whose hometowns were rendered uninhabitable in the disaster.

He noted the need for society to realize that victims of the nuclear disaster continue to be penalized.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170309_06/

Evacuated Fukushima children victims of bullying

An NHK survey of former residents of Fukushima who fled the 2011 nuclear disaster has found that dozens of children were bullied at their new schools.

NHK joined hands with Waseda University and others to survey more than 9,500 households from the four municipalities in the prefecture near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

741 families from the towns of Okuma, Futaba, and Tomioka, as well as Minamisoma City, responded to the questionnaire ahead of the sixth anniversary of the disaster on March 11.

54 replied that their children were bullied at schools and other places because they had evacuated on account of the nuclear disaster. Three were kindergarteners, and 28 were in elementary school. 21 others were either in junior high or senior high school.

In the multiple-choice survey, 32 replied they were verbally harassed. 22 were ostracized, 13 experienced violence, and 5 were told to pay money.

Many of the acts of harassment were linked to the compensation the children’s families received.

In some of the acts of violence, one child was pressed to jump from the fourth floor of a building. Another was threatened with a knife and was told that he or she has no right to live.

As a result, more than 60 percent of the children stopped disclosing they came from Fukushima.

Fukushima University specially appointed Professor Tamaki Honda, who has been advising evacuees, noted that the children are facing more hardship as time goes by. She called for the creation of a system that will watch over the children, who have lost a sense of community after fleeing their hometowns.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170309_01/

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March 10, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

SIX YEARS AFTER: 60 percent say Fukushima evacuees bullied

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A man living outside Fukushima Prefecture writes, “When I said that I came from Fukushima, I was told, ‘You are an evacuee, aren’t you?’ I cannot forget that.”

More than 60 percent of current or former evacuees from the Fukushima nuclear crisis said they were victims of bullying or discrimination in areas they evacuated to or witnessed or heard of such incidents, according to a new survey.

The survey, released Feb. 26, was conducted jointly by The Asahi Shimbun and Akira Imai, professor of local governments’ policies at Fukushima University, in January and February.

It is probably the first time that the actual conditions of ‘bullying evacuees’ became clear in large quantities and concretely,” Imai said. “The recognition that evacuees are victims of the nuclear accident is not shared in society. That is leading to the bullying.”

The series of surveys started in June 2011, three months after an accident occurred at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant due to the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

In the latest survey, the sixth, The Asahi Shimbun and Imai sent a questionnaire in late January to 348 people who had replied to the series of surveys.

Of these, 184 people of 18 prefectures, including Fukushima Prefecture, gave valid responses. Of the 184, 147 were still evacuees.

The latest survey asked for the first time whether they were bullied or discriminated due to the fact that they evacuated because of the nuclear accident. Thirty-three of the 184, or 18 percent, said that they or their family members became victims of bullying or discrimination.

In addition, 81 of the 184, or 44 percent, replied that they saw or heard of those actions around them.

In a section in which respondents can freely describe their experiences or opinions, a 35-year-old woman wrote, “I was told, ‘Why do you work despite the fact that you have money. I felt sad, wondering whether I have no right to work.”

A 59-year-old man wrote, “When I bought in bulk, I was told, ‘Oh! An evacuee.’”

Meanwhile, 60 of the 184 respondents, or 33 percent, responded that they have neither been victims of bullying or discrimination nor have they seen or heard of any acts.

A 48-year-old woman wrote, “Superiors or colleagues in my workplace in the area where I have evacuated have treated me normally. I have been able to encounter good people.”

The survey also asked the 147 respondents, who are still evacuees, whether they think they are unwilling to tell people around them the fact that they are evacuating. Sixty-one, or 41 percent, replied that they think so.

In the free description section, a 49-year-old woman wrote, “I have the anxiety that talking (with other people) will lead to discussing compensation money.” A 31-year-old woman wrote, “I have a concern that my children could be bullied.”

Meanwhile, 50 of the 147 respondents, or 34 percent, replied that they don’t have that anxiety about telling people. In addition, 26 of the 147 people, or 18 percent, answered that they don’t know whether they think so or not.

A 56-year-old man wrote, “I dare not tell people who do not know that I am evacuating. I cannot move my life forward if I continue to say that I am an evacuee.”

Currently, about 80,000 people are living in and outside Fukushima Prefecture as evacuees.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201702260027.html

A man living outside Fukushima Prefecture writes, “When I said that I came from Fukushima, I was told, ‘You are an evacuee, aren’t you?’ I cannot forget that.”

February 26, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Mother of bullied Fukushima evacuee reveals details of abuse to court

The mother of a student who evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture to Tokyo in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster disclosed to the Tokyo District Court on Jan. 11 that the student had been bullied from elementary school and was told “you’ll probably die from leukemia soon.”
The mother was testifying as part of a damages lawsuit filed against Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) and the central government by about 50 plaintiffs including victims who voluntarily relocated to Tokyo after the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster.

“My child was bullied for simply being an evacuee, and not being able to publicly say we are evacuees has caused psychological trauma,” the mother said.

The mother testified that directly after transferring to a public elementary school in Chiyoda Ward following the disaster, her child was bullied by a male classmate who said, “You came from Fukushima so you’ll probably die from leukemia soon.” She said that the teacher, while joking, also added, “You will probably die by the time you’re in middle school.” She also asserted that a classmate pushed her child down the stairs after saying, “You’re going to die anyway, so what’s the difference?”

After moving on to junior high school, the student was reportedly forced by classmates to pay for around 10,000 yen worth of sweets and snacks. This bullying case is currently being investigated by a Chiyoda Ward Board of Education third-party committee.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170112/p2a/00m/0na/005000c

January 14, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Bullying of evacuated children

Recently, the Japanese mass media are busy reporting on the bullying of evacuated children at school. As a matter of fact, this kind of bullying has existed for quite a while. However, after a long silence, the mass media have suddenly started reporting about it. Often, it tends to be reduced to the common bullying found in the education system without reference to the particular environmental hazards caused by the nuclear accident.  Akiko MORIMATSU analyzes the bullying from the viewpoint of the nuclear disaster evacuees. She was interviewed in “Minna no News Wonder” at Kansai TV on December 5th 2016.

3.11 evacuees’ voices

The courage to escape” and “the power to ask for help”

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I am worried about what children will learn when they face a society incapable of helping  people who have fled from calamity and are asking for aid.
I think that when society does not show how it is possible to help, children won’t be able to have the “courage to escape” or to deploy the power to “ask for help” at school.

I’ve noticed the following through my exerience with the nuclear disaster.  We accept too easily that people facing danger will be able to escape without difficulty, and that it is natural to do so.

However, it is possible to create social situations which won’t allow for people to escape from danger, which won’t let them flee, or which pose such big obstacles that people can’t escape even when they are told that they are allowed to do so.  This has indeed been our situation for the last 5 years and 8 months.  I feel this way as an internal nuclear refugee.

This is how adult society is.  In this society in which our evasion is not fully accepted, children are exposed to the risk of bullying, which can happen anywhere unfortunately, amplified by incomprehension, indifference, prejudice and discrimination of the society.  I must say that they are facing even greater risks in response to the recent reporting by mass media.

At anytime, evacuee children are facing “the risk which is present here and now”.
This may be true for any children in this country.

And the “bullying” is not limited to children’s society.
It can be certainly said that there are second and third levels (TN 1) of damage from the nuclear disaster.

This is why society as a whole should accept the real situation of the nuclear disaster and set our eyes more directly on the truth.

The evacuees and evacuee children really exist all over Japan.
“They continue being evacuees because it is necessary to evacuate (TN2)”.

That is the truth and reality.
The only thing which counts is to
start from this fact and decide how society should deal with it.

(Akiko MORIMATSU evacuated with two children from Fukushima to Osaka)

Broadcasted by Kansai TV on December 5th 2016

Sources: 東日本大震災避難者の会 Thanks & Dream
森松明希子さんのfacebookページ
Facebook of Akiko MORIMATU

 

(TN 1) For example, psychological, familial or social levels.
(TN2) because the environment is contaminated

https://fukushima311voices.wordpress.com/2017/01/01/bullying-of-evacuated-children/

January 2, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Harassment of Evacuees by Prefectural Housing Authorities to evict them for March 2017

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All the people evacuated in 2011 and who benefited of a housing compensation, are now suffering harassment from the various prefectures’ housing authorities, pressuring them to get out of those appartments before coming March 2017

This picture show the notice taped to the entrance door of an evacuee’s appartment, marking and stigmatizing the evacuee’s family to all the neigbors. Those evacuees are victims. Why treat in such manner people who are victims, already suffering plenty enough hardships and losses? What the hell is wrong with you? What are the sins of the victims?

The Japanese government, for the first time, is using state funds for decontamination work in areas affected by the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima Prefecture.
The environment ministry earmarked roughly 30 billion yen, or about 250 million dollars, in the fiscal 2017 budget plan, which was approved by the Cabinet on Thursday.
The allocation will be for cleaning up no-entry areas where radiation levels remain prohibitively high.
The government had so far made the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, pay for the cleanup, based on the principle that the entity responsible for the contamination should bear the cost.

If the Japanese Authorities can provide funds to help Tepco, the entity responsible for the contamination, why can they provide funds to help the victims, whose rights and needs should prevailed over those of the responsible corporation responsible for that nuclear disaster? Why the Japanese central government can coordinate with those various prefectures housing authorities for those evacuees to continue to live in a free-radiation environmnent?

The Japanese government decided to stop the evacuees housing compensation on March 2017  so as to force the evacuees’ return to live with radiation in the ghost towns now declared “safe” by the Japanese government. In preparation of the coming 2020 Tokyo Olympics, all must be back to normal, and is now declared “safe and clean”. Economics prevailing over scientific realities and people lives.

Japanese culture is looked upon as being a very refined, sophisticated, advanced culture. Is there no place for compassion in Japanese culture? Those victims are suffering from double-triple suffering already. Do you have to turn it into persecution?

Is not the right to live in a radiation-free environment a basic human right? To force them by all kinds of gimmicks to return to live in a contaminated territory, is then a violation of their basic human rights, their right to preserve their own health!

December 25, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

New Fukushima evacuee bullying case emerges at Tokyo school

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Garbage taken home by a bullied student in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward (Provided by the student’s mother)

After school bullying cases emerged recently in cities including Yokohama and Niigata, another student who was evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture after the 2011 nuclear disaster has come forward.

The latest case, at a junior high school in the capital’s Chiyoda Ward, involved the victimized student being intimidated into paying for three other students’ sweets, juices and other goods, worth about 10,000 yen ($87).

The case came to light after the student and the student’s mother reported the bullying to the school.

It is regrettable that bullying existed at this school. I will do my utmost to prevent it from happening again,” said the principal of the Chiyoda Ward government-run school.

The victim told The Asahi Shimbun that some students had begun to utter the taunt “hinansha” (evacuee) around summer 2015.

This year, the name-calling escalated, and the bullies started making insulting and threatening remarks such as, “You don’t have money as you came from Fukushima,” “Can’t you pay the bills for us as you are poor?” and “I will reveal that you are an evacuee.”

The bullies then manipulated the victim into paying for their doughnuts, juices and other goods.

The picked-on student was also pressured by the student’s tormenters to take home their trash, which they did by putting it into the student’s school bag.

At school, the student’s textbooks and notebooks went missing. Some of them were found in a corner of the classroom with ripped pages.

Since my elementary school days, I have been bullied on the grounds that I am an evacuee. I was not able to tell that to anybody. It was painful. I thought that if I can silence other students with money, I will do it,” the student said.

In late November, the student’s mother noticed all the garbage in her child’s school bag. Finally the student told the mother what had been happening, and then reported the case to the school, along with the mother.

The school investigated 15 pupils but was not able to confirm that the victim has been bullied on the grounds that the student was an evacuee from Fukushima Prefecture.

However, three of those investigated admitted that the student had paid their bills. The school confirmed that the bills totaled about 10,000 yen.

The school said that it did not investigate the missing books, as it was not clear when they had disappeared.

I had thought that the school would investigate who dumped them,” the mother said of the missing books, adding, “I want the school to deal with the case by paying more consideration to the bullied student.”

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201612130064.html

December 13, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Mom of student called ‘germ’ at school links bullying to Fukushima disaster

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The mother of a fourth-year elementary school student in Niigata, who has been staying home from school since late November after being called “germ” by his peers and his teacher, spoke to the Mainichi Shimbun, saying that her son was bullied because he came from nuclear disaster-hit Fukushima Prefecture.
The family evacuated from Fukushima after the nuclear disaster. While the Niigata Municipal Board of Education has denied a link between the bullying of the student and his Fukushima roots, according to the mother, the student started being called “germ” around March of this year, which marked five years since the disaster, and this is one reason she argues that there is a connection.

According to the mother, around March 11 of this year when the nuclear disaster issue came up in class, her son proactively talked about his own experiences.

“He must have been happy to be able to give lots of answers,” she says. However, it was around that time that he started being called “germ” by his classmates.

“Some kids who knew he had come from Fukushima started calling him germ, and that led to kids who didn’t know him also calling him that, like a nickname,” she says.

In June, the student talked to his teacher, complaining that he was “being treated like a germ.” At that point the student is thought to have not considered the name as bullying, and when the teacher referred to him as “germ” after summer vacation ended, he didn’t appear to be deeply bothered by it.

In early November, though, it was reported in the news that a junior high school student in Yokohama who had evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture was bullied by being called “germ.” When the student in Niigata heard this, he said, “It’s the same as me,” and the mother says she thinks “he probably began to see himself as being bullied.” On the mother’s advice, the student talked to his teacher about it again on Nov. 17. When he came home, he triumphantly said with a smile that he had talked to the teacher.

After a strong earthquake off the Fukushima Prefecture coast early on the morning of Nov. 22 this year, the boy went off to school looking anxious, he and his mother having not yet been able to get in contact with the father, who works in Fukushima Prefecture. During recess that day, while the student was receiving teacher-parent correspondence from his teacher, the teacher called him “germ” again. The shocked student returned home, and since Nov. 24 has been staying home from school, saying, “I want to go to school, but I can’t because that teacher is there.”

According to the mother, at first school authorities denied the teacher had called the student “germ.” On Nov. 25 the father called the school and said tearfully that “There are kids who commit suicide (when they are bullied).” Although the teacher apologized, the mother says that the teacher treated them coldly, saying it was only this year that they had become the student’s homeroom teacher. The teacher has said they want to apologize to the student, but the student is refusing to see the instructor and the school principal has been visiting the family’s home every day to try and deal with the matter.

The family has been planning to move after the free rent for the government-leased apartment they are living in ends at the end of this fiscal year. The mother says, “My son had been asking that we stay in the same school district, but now that this has happened, we have no choice but to have him change schools,” adding, “We evacuated voluntarily (from Fukushima), and I don’t want to impose on the people of Niigata.”

According to the Niigata Municipal Board of Education, there are 291 children who have evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture to the city of Niigata. It holds that “there is no bullying of students related to their Fukushima roots.”

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Timeline of events involving the bullying of the student:

2011:

March — The Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster occur. The student evacuates to the city of Niigata.

2016:

Around March — Student begins to be ostracized by peers and called “germ.”

April — Student enters fourth grade and homeroom teacher changes.

June — Student speaks to teacher about being called “germ.” Teacher disciplines classmates who bullied student.

Early November — News is reported of a junior high school student in Yokohama who evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture and was bullied, including being called “germ.”

Nov. 17 — Student again speaks to teacher about being bullied.

Nov. 22 — During recess, student is called “germ” by teacher in classroom in front of classmates.

Nov. 24 — Student begins to stay home from school (Nov. 23 was a school holiday).

Nov. 29 — School questions students about incident. Multiple students testify that teacher called student “germ,” and teacher also says it is true.

(Based on sources including student’s parents and the Niigata Municipal Board of Education)

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161205/p2a/00m/0na/020000c

December 5, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Schoolteacher calls Fukushima evacuee pupil ‘germ’

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NIIGATA, Japan (Kyodo) — An elementary school pupil who evacuated from Fukushima in the wake of the 2011 nuclear disaster has skipped school for more than a week since a male teacher added “germ” to his name when addressing him in late November, a local education board said Friday.

The fourth-grade pupil told the teacher, in his 40s, before the summer holidays that he was distressed as other pupils were addressing him by adding “germ” to his name.

According to the education board, the teacher then added “germ” while addressing the boy in a classroom on Nov. 22, just five days after the boy approached the teacher again about his treatment by fellow pupils.

Nov. 22 was also the day of a strong earthquake off Fukushima in the early morning, reminding many of the massive March 2011 quake and tsunami that triggered the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

On Nov. 24, the boy’s parents complained to the elementary school and other teachers interviewed every pupil in the class five days later.

“Despite being approached by the pupil for help, the teacher said something extremely inconsiderate and inappropriate,” an official of the education board said.

The case follows an earlier report of bullying in Yokohama, where a 13-year-old evacuee from Fukushima was verbally and physically attacked as he comes from the devastated prefecture. The elementary school and local education board failed to offer meaningful support in that case, according to a third-party panel of the city’s education board.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161202/p2g/00m/0dm/082000c

December 2, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

2nd Fukushima boy speaks up about bullying in new schools

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A junior high school boy from Fukushima Prefecture recounts his experiences of bullying after he moved to Tokyo with his family as a second-grader in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun on Nov. 24

In a troubling development, the bullying of students who fled the Fukushima nuclear disaster is apparently more widespread than the boy whose ordeal in Yokohama recently attracted much media attention and generated public sympathy.

A junior high school boy in Tokyo also has recounted his agonizing experiences of becoming the target of harassment, which continued off and on in his first and second elementary schools in the capital.

Unless a person who experienced it speaks up, a true picture of bullying cannot be conveyed to the public,” the boy, accompanied by his parents, told of his decision to come forward in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun.

When the boy evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture in 2011, following the nuclear accident in March that year, he was in the second grade. All he could take with him from his home in the scramble to flee were a few clothes. He could not bring his school backpack or textbooks.

At his new school, he soon found himself being bullied by his classmates, including girls.

Your germs will infect us,” one said, while another jeered, “What you touch will be contaminated.”

Still another commented, “You are living in a house for free.”

He took down a drawing that was on a classroom wall alongside those of other children after he found some classmates had scribbled disparaging comments on it.

At the school, students formed small groups with their desks when they have school lunch. But students in his group avoided doing so with him.

After the boy tried to join them by pushing his desk toward theirs, a homeroom teacher called his parents to urge him to improve his behavior, saying that their son was “restless.”

The boy finally began to refuse to go to school.

I cannot stand up due to pain in my legs,” he complained to his parents.

His mother decided to transfer him to a new school only several months after he was enrolled in the Tokyo school.

But the boy quickly discovered that the new situation was not much different from his former school.

A teacher introduced him as a Fukushima evacuee in front of the entire school. Soon children asked him how much compensation money his family had received. They also told him that his family must live in a nice home for free just because they were evacuees.

In the face of such bullying at his new school as well, the boy made the wish that he would be strong enough to persevere through the difficulties.

His mother finally took action to help her son when he was a fifth-grader. She brought up his troubles during her talks with his homeroom teacher.

Until then, though concerned, she restrained herself from speaking out in the crowd as several Fukushima evacuees were also attending the school.

If I spoke out in a strong tone, I might have caused trouble for other evacuees,” the mother said of her feelings at the time.

But her patience ran out.

In response to her pleas, the boy’s homeroom teacher asked her to “wait three months,” and the bullying stopped.

But the harassment continued at the boy’s cram school.

A few children from the same school were also enrolled at the cram school, and they, coupled with students from other schools, continued taunting him where the homeroom teacher’s oversight did not reach.

After a child dropped the boy’s shoe in the lavatory basin, he was told, “This is your home.”

The boy mustered the courage to resist when another child, showing him a pet bottle containing leftover food, said the bullying would stop if he consumed it.

The mother, alerted by her son, reported the harassment to cram school officials and the situation improved after that.

The boy said his relationships with his new classmates were good after he entered a junior high school away from his home.

Although he did not reveal that he is an evacuee, he did not become the target of bullying even after his classmates later found out by accident.

I was under the impression that I was not equal to my peers as I was an evacuee at my elementary school,” the boy said. “Children were in an environment that barely accepts individuality and those with differing backgrounds, and an evacuee was viewed as an individual with an abnormal trait.”

The parents said his family, evacuating from outside the evacuation zone, did receive compensation, but only a fraction of the sum a family from the evacuation zone was entitled to.

The family’s access to free housing will end in March.

I am so worried about my future because I have no clue as to our life after that,” he said.

Yuya Kamoshita, who heads a group of evacuees in the Tokyo metropolitan area, said the organization received five other complaints about bullying, in addition to the boy’s case.

He said many children from Fukushima are routinely derided as “a germ” or “dirty” in association with the disaster at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

People around the children who call out those taunts must know about their behavior,” he said. “School officials should make a firm response.”

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201611270040.html

A junior high school boy from Fukushima Prefecture recounts his experiences of bullying after he moved to Tokyo with his family as a second-grader in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun on Nov. 24

November 28, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

School failed to act on extortion of Fukushima evacuee bullied at school

 

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YOKOHAMA — Education authorities failed to react to financial and emotional damage incurred by a boy who was bullied at his school here after evacuating from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, it has been learned.

The boy, who is now 13, was bullied at an elementary school in Yokohama after he transferred there from Fukushima Prefecture. Although the school and the Yokohama Municipal Board of Education were aware that the boy was forced to pay about 1.5 million yen to his classmates, they failed to respond proactively to the case. His parents had conveyed the amount to the school and education board after being informed of it by Kanagawa Prefectural Police.

According to attorneys for the student and other sources, the parents consulted with prefectural police in July 2014 about their son’s classmates demanding money from him. After checking the footage of security cameras at a video arcade, prefectural police found that at least one of the bullies had squandered hundreds of thousands of yen of boy’s money each time.

The money that the victim was forced to pay was spent on travel, dining and entertainment. The student was initially demanded to pay around 50,000 yen at a time, but the sum eventually snowballed.

The bully extorted the victim, saying, “You’ve got compensation money (for the nuclear disaster), don’t you?” The victim could not confide the incidents to his parents and secretly paid the bullies using his family’s money budgeted for living expenses.

The victim stopped attending school for a second time in June 2014, and his parents reported the prefectural police’s investigation results to his school and the city education board. However, the school didn’t deem the case a “serious situation” under the law to promote measure to prevent bullying, and shelved it.

At a Nov. 15 press conference, the city education board admitted that there was money trouble between the students. Superintendent of schools Yuko Okada said, “We should have recognized the case as serious as more than one month had passed since the student stopped attending school and the money and goods issues surfaced.”

A third-party panel to the city education board criticized the school and the education board, saying, “There are no traces of their having given sufficient instructions to the parties who ‘paid’ and ‘were paid for,’ though (the education authorities) were aware of the exchange of monies in the tens of thousands of yen.”

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161118/p2a/00m/0na/018000c

November 19, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | 1 Comment

Fukushima boy mocked as ‘germ’ releases notes about bullying

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A note written by the 13-year-old boy who was bullied after transferring from a school in Fukushima Prefecture to one in Yokohama is seen. Parts of the note are blacked out for privacy reasons.

Fukushima boy mocked as ‘germ’ releases notes about bullying

YOKOHAMA–Notes written by a boy from disaster-hit Fukushima Prefecture reveal the relentless bullying he faced and his sense of hopelessness, but they also show a positive attitude that kept his suicidal thoughts at bay.

Reports of classmates’ cruelty toward the boy, including payments of money, after he transferred to a Yokohama elementary school have again put bullying in the national spotlight.

The boy wrote the notes in July 2015, when he was a sixth-grader at the public elementary school. His family had moved to the city from Fukushima Prefecture five months after the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant unfolded in March 2011.

The notes were released on Nov. 15 through Tomohiro Kurosawa, a lawyer representing the boy.

In his notes, the boy wrote that he “thought many times about dying” to escape his predicament.

But he did not want to become another victim of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami that caused the triple meltdown at the plant.

He wrote that he decided to live because “so many people had to die” in the quake and tsunami.

The home of the boy’s family was outside the evacuation zone designated by the central government, but his parents decided to move the family partly over fears of possible health damage from the radiation.

After his transfer to the school in Yokohama, some classmates attached “kin,” which means “germ,” to his name, suggesting that he was contaminated. It became his nickname.

I found it heartbreaking because, every day, I was treated as if I were a germ or radiation,” he wrote. “I believe that people from Fukushima have become the targets of bullying. I could offer no resistance (to the bullying).”

In May 2014, when he was in the fifth grade, he started going to game arcades and amusement parks with 10 or so classmates, according to an investigative panel at the Yokohama municipal board of education. His tormentors made him cover the costs of those outings, saying the boy’s family was being well-compensated for the nuclear accident.

The boy apparently stole cash from his parents to pay for nearly 10 such outings, ranging from 50,000 yen ($463) to 100,000 yen each time, including meals and travel expenses.

He even bought air guns for two other children so that they could play together.

The total amount he paid for those occasions was 1.5 million yen, according to Kurosawa.

I was deeply frustrated and upset when they told me to bring the money, but I could not do anything, feeling just fearful, because I was afraid they would bully me again if I resist,” the boy said in the notes. “I was angered when they told me that I have compensation money (for the nuclear disaster), and I find it vexing that I could not resist.”

The bullying came to the attention of parents of other children in May 2014, and they informed school officials that the boy was paying money to his classmates.

The same month, the boy’s parents asked the school about their son’s missing cap, saying somebody might have hidden it.

The school began looking into the boy’s case, but he had already lost confidence in the teachers.

I told (my teachers) all I had experienced, but nobody believed me,” the boy wrote.

Yuko Okada, superintendent of the city education board, acknowledged that school officials failed to respond appropriately to the boy’s case.

The boy did not attend school for more than a month, and there was a report suggesting that the boy paid money,” Okada said of the boy’s absence from school, which began in late May 2014. “The school should have considered it a grave case as of June 2014, when he was in the fifth grade.”

According to Kurosawa, school officials interviewed the bullies, who insisted that the boy paid the money “out of his own will.” The school concluded this was not a case of bullying.

The school officials did not interview the boy.

Sachiko Takeda, an education critic well versed in the bullying issue, criticized the school officials for lacking the sense to protect children from potential bullying.

It was essential for officials to have looked at the issue from his perspective, that the bullying could stop once he gives them money,” she said. “The officials should have paid extra attention to children from Fukushima Prefecture because there were already reports across the country that they tend to become targets of bullying.”

In addition, Takeda said adults should do some soul-searching because they pass on to children the mistaken perception that “radiation is contagious” and that evacuees who fled on their own “receive a large amount of money in compensation for the nuclear disaster.”

The boy graduated from the elementary school and is now attending a free school for absentee students, according to Kurosawa.

The boy said he decided to make his notes public in hopes that “bullying will disappear” after hearing a flurry of media reports about deaths of bullied children.

I am also hoping that my notes can comfort, even slightly, many children (in a similar situation),” he said.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201611160066.html

Note written by Fukushima evacuee bullied at new school released

YOKOHAMA — A 13-year-old boy who had been bullied after transferring to an elementary school here from Fukushima Prefecture due to the nuclear disaster wrote that he “thought about dying many times” in a note revealed on Nov. 15 by an attorney representing the boy and his family.

The attorney released a statement by the boy’s parents along with the three-page note their son wrote in July last year, when he was a sixth grader. The boy stated in the note that his new classmates in Yokohama demanded money, saying that he must have received compensation because his family had fled their hometown in Fukushima Prefecture after the nuclear meltdowns in 2011. It also said he was called a “germ,” and that he was worried the name-calling was prompted by radiation associated with the nuclear disaster. The bullying reportedly continued for three years, from second to fifth grades, and he was unable to attend classes as a result.

The boy wrote, “I thought about dying many times, but I decided to live, even though it is painful, because a lot of people died in the disaster.”

According to the attorney, the boy decided to disclose his notes in hopes of encouraging fellow bullying victims. He wrote about the time his classmates demanded money, saying, “It makes me mad that they told me I have compensation money, and it’s also frustrating that I could not fight back,” adding, “I couldn’t do anything because I was scared of being bullied again.” The boy also wrote about his feelings when he was called a “germ,” saying, “It was painful because I thought it was because of radiation. I realized that people from Fukushima would be bullied (because of the disaster).”

The boy wrote in the notes that the school did not believe him even though he told teachers about the bullying, and that they ignored him when he tried to consult them.

Meanwhile, the boy’s parents criticized the school in their statement, saying that staff did not contact them even when they knew that some students at the school were demanding money from their son. In addition, they touched on the report released by a third-party investigative committee set up by the Yokohama Municipal Board of Education, saying it was unfortunate that many parts explaining what kind of bullying took place were redacted even after they told the board that they wanted details to be made public.

Municipal education board superintendent Yuko Okada held a separate news conference on Nov. 15 and said, “We feel sorry that the school and the education board were unable to respond to the matter in a coordinated manner.” She added, “I was not under the impression that we were asked to reveal everything that was in the report.” The education board is set to interview relevant persons once again.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161116/p2a/00m/0na/015000c

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Probe ordered into Fukushima boy bullying

The mayor of Yokohama City has ordered its education board to look into why it failed to respond quickly to the bullying of a student who had evacuated due to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.

A third-party panel of the board determined that the boy was bullied after entering an elementary school in Yokohama. The panel said school staff and education authorities responded slowly to the problem.

Mayor Fumiko Hayashi told reporters on Wednesday that city officials failed to make good use of an anti-bullying law enacted after a spate of serious cases across the nation.

Hayashi also referred to a note in which the boy said he thought of suicide many times.
She said she sensed his pain from the note and was heartbroken over his experience.

Hayashi said she wonders why the school and the board failed to help him much earlier.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20161116_26/

November 16, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment