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Hi Blog. Speaking of treatment of Visible Minorities in Japanese school textbooks, here is the final update on one of Senaiho’s lawsuits against the bullies who made her feel like dropping out of school in 2018. (Previous Senaiho posts: Original here, Updates One, Two, Three, and Four.)
Senaiho’s family lost, in that the court acknowledged bullying happened, but no compensation for mental suffering was warranted because nobody died or was seriously injured. Bullying is a natural part of Japanese Education, you see, so gaman gaman. It’s only fun until somebody loses an eye.
Subject: Judgement Update
Date: May 6, 2021
To: “Debito Arudou Ph.D.” <email@example.com>
Here is an update of our case. Use it wherever you see fit with our permission. Thanks again for everything.
Update on Senaiho Judgment in The Bullying Case
We received a judgment from the Yamanashi Circuit Court in our case against the bullies of our daughter resulting in the school cutting her hair and her dropping out of school. In a Readers Digest version of the judgment, we lost. The court ruled that while recognizing the fact that bullying was present, it did not amount to enough abuse that would merit awarding any damages. A certain amount of teasing is expected and a normal part of the Japanese educational system, in the court’s opinion, so zero amount is awarded.
There is no hiding our disappointment in this judgment, so I won’t try to white-wash it. It sends the message that it is OK to bully others for whatever reason in Japanese education, as long as there are no serious physical effects, such as severe injury, death, or suicide. There was no mention whatsoever of anything related to racial motivations in our case.
There is the option of appealing, but after consideration of all the factors, while there is some moral support to appeal from others who have endured abuse by classmates (and teachers) in the Japanese education system, appealing our judgment would have no benefit to anyone following in this direction, we feel. While there are laws that apply to abuse regarding the Japanese education system, at least in our case, they are not given merit as far as Japanese legal and social welfare is concerned. The decision to follow up legally is a dead end in our opinion. We know of some situations where in a lack of legal justice, the victims have taken matters into their own hands, and while it is easy to understand their feelings, it is not a road we wish to go down.
Also in light of the effects of further legal actions on the mental well-being of our daughter, along with the financial drain of it, we have decided not pursue this any further. We still have the case against the city of Yamanashi pending and we will be focusing our remaining energies on this until its conclusion. Thank you again for your support and well wishes. Senaiho
Yet, as Senaiho noted in his Original Post to Debito.org in December 2018:
According to Guidebook of School Dispute Resolution by Kamiuchi Satoru, pg 216-217, The legal responsibilities of compulsory education in Japan are:
There shall be:
1. No provision of reasonable consideration based on developmental disability support law, disability discrimination prevention law
2. No response to bullying, contrary to the ordinance such as bullying prevention measure promotion law, Yamanashi city bullying countermeasure contact council, etc.
3. No School accident judgment incompatible and not pursuant to the “Ministry of Education, Culture, Administration” guidelines on response to school accidents.
What this legalese means in real life, is that the onus is legally completely on the school to make it safe and secure for every student to attend, including making any accommodations for special needs like attention deficit disorder, special training, or bullying awareness, really anything that would hinder any student from being able to participate in their education…
Yamanashi District Court disagrees. So much for expecting the judiciary to help.
Here is the redacted lawsuit decision in its entirety.
Debito Arudou, Ph.D.
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