An investigative committee for Ibaraki Prefecture, north of Tokyo, has acknowledged a causal relationship between bullying and the suicide of a girl four years ago.
Junior high school student Naoko Nakashima in Toride City, who was 15, killed herself in November 2015, leaving a note saying she did not want to be bullied.
The city's board of education looked into the case and concluded it did not confirm bullying against her. It later established a third-party committee in response to her parents' request. But when the committee was launched, the board decided the matter did not fall into a serious case of bullying. The board later retracted the decision.
After the committee disbanded, the prefecture set up its investigative committee as an exceptional case.
The prefectural committee heard from the bereaved family, her classmates and others. It made public a report on Wednesday.
The report says she was bullied multiple times, which included abusive words being scribbled in her album and being shunned during physical education classes.
The report concludes that it can be assumed she would not have killed herself if she had not been bullied.
The report also says an improper instruction at the school against her on the day when she committed suicide was a factor. It notes that her classroom teacher and others unreasonably determined that she held collective responsibility for another student to have broken a windowpane of the school building.
And the report severely criticizes the city's education board for its handling of the cause.
Naoko's father, Takanobu Nakashima, told a news conference that more than three years have passed since his daughter died, and it took too long to recognize the obvious.
He said the prefecture's committee sincerely faced what she appealed and what he and others heard from students. He added that its stance has resulted in the report.