Another typical day in Japan, where a high school boy commits suicide after having been beaten up by his basketball coach yet again and people including reporters from major newspapers are busy making excuse for the coach, implicitly blaming the boy for overreacting to or misunderstanding the "pure intention" of the coach.
Instead of throwing the coach in jail right away, as they might elsewhere in the world, the Board of Education of that city insists their investigation didn't reveal anything wrong.
The boy was the captain of the highly competitive basketball team at a city public high school. He came home late one night in December last year, told his mother that he was beaten by the school coach again, and he was getting quite weary and couldn't take it any more. He also said the coach singled him out and beat more often and more severely because he was the captain. His mother told him he could just quit playing for the team. He hanged himself that night. His face was severely swollen from the beating.
Where's that city? Well no other than the one where the boy-wonder continues to serve as mayor while being the deputy leader of the Japan Restoration Party.
The boy-wonder issued a statement after the news, in which he insists corporal punishment is part of education. This mayor was a school bully himself, and is proud of it.
Just like eating school lunch that contains radioactive cesium is an educational opportunity for children, being beaten up by your coach is not child abuse but instead such an educational opportunity that everyone should gladly accept.
First, about the poor boy, from Asahi Shinbun (1/9/2013):
According to the school principal Sato, the student became reticent at home about one week before he committed suicide, and the family was worried. The student came home past 9PM on the day before the suicide. He said to his mother, "We lost again. Your bento was delicious. I was beaten again pretty bad today."
[An anonymous citizen alerted the city on the abuse at this particular high school in September 2011. The city decided to investigate. But here's how they did the investigation.]
The city relegated the investigation to the city's Board of Education. The Board of Education instructed the school principal to investigate. According to the Board of Education, the principal asked all the coaches whether they did corporal punishment, and all of them answered "no". There was no further investigation, and the principal reported back to the Board of Education that "there was no corporal punishment".
In fact, later investigations revealed that 21 students out of 50 basketball team members said they had been beaten as corporal punishment, and over 40 of them said they had seen others beaten.
Then, the boy-wonder's response, from Mainichi Shinbun (1/8/2013):
"Even I sometimes hit my own children. Even the parents (like me) do, so (corporal punishment) exists in schools. What's important is how to follow up when the beating happens", said [Osaka Mayor Hashimoto], indicating his stance that it was more important to follow up on the pupils/students after they received corporal punishment, rather than eliminating corporal punishment from schools.
Then Asahi Shinbun (1/9/2013) chooses to report words from school officials:
One fellow classmate tries to defend the coach (Asahi Shinbun 1/9/2013):
Sakuranomiya High School officials say, "The coach is a very conscientious teacher, and there was nothing wrong with the student who committed suicide. They both have pure characters, and the coach was just a little too overzealous."
"Corporal punishment [from this coach] is not because he hates us students but because of his good intention of making the team better", said one male student in the Physical Education Department of the high school, speaking about the coach.
Anywhere else in the world, this is called "child abuse", and the coach will be thrown in jail immediately. The mother, for not intervening strongly enough, may also be arrested. Not so in Japan. (As far as I know, this coach is still working at this school.)
In fact, you probably have to thank the coach for the invaluable education. I remember one such teacher in my junior high school who actually demanded the pupils to thank him for beating them up with a thick bamboo stick. He was quite popular with parents, who didn't quite know the severity of his beating. The school did nothing, of course.
It's supremely ironic that this same country worries so much now about the dwindling population and says they have to protect their children (from radioactive materials, for one). Uh huh.