TOKYO (TR) – Three students at a middle school here allegedly blackmailed a female student who evacuated from the Fukushima nuclear meltdown into buying them snacks by threatening to expose her as a victim of the disaster, the Asahi Shimbun reported on Tuesday (Dec. 14).
Classmates at the middle school in Chiyoda Ward started calling the female victim an “evacuee” since last summer and jeered her by saying the likes of, “You have no money because you’re from Fukushima, right?” “You’re poor so you can’t treat us?” and “We’ll tell everyone you’re an evacuee,” a student told the Asahi.
The bullying came to light after the victim’s mother told the school in late November that her daughter was “taking out money from home and treating her friends,” Fuji News Network reported.
The bullies forced the victim to start buying donuts and drinks at convenience stores starting this year, the student said, adding the bullies told her “Here, this is for you” as they shoved the resulting trash into her backpack. The total value of the snacks was around 10,000 yen.
The victim’s textbooks and notebooks also disappeared, some of which were found with pages missing in the corners of her classroom.
The student said the victim “has been referred to as ‘a germ’ and ‘Miss Fukushima’ since elementary school, so she didn’t want people to know. She thought it would be fine if they could be silenced with money.”
The principal of the victim’s school said it was “regrettable that there was bullying at the school. We’ll strive to prevent future occurrences.”
A national issue
Bullying has been a national issue, particularly for evacuees from the Fukushima disaster of 2011.
In November, a boy was forced to hand over a total of more than one million yen to his classmates who bullied him over his family evacuating from Fukushima Prefecture.
Police ruled that the bullying was not a case of blackmail because he handed money over on his own accord, a decision that was immediately criticized by netizens.