KANAGAWA (TR) – A middle school boy who fled Fukushima Prefecture following the nuclear disaster five years ago was assaulted and told “Fukushima people are idiots” by his classmates, a lawyer handling his case said on Wednesday.
The lawyer, part of a group of legal consultants offering support to voluntary evacuees to Kanagawa Prefecture after the disaster, said the student, now in his second year of high school, was punched, kicked and beaten by his classmates at public middle school in Kawasaki City, NHK reports (Dec. 14).
The Kawasaki Municipal Board of Education said the “facts will be confirmed as soon as possible” and ordered 52 middle schools in the city to investigate for any possible bullying.
The student and his parents consulted with school officials, but the mistreatment was never resolved after the alleged bullies didn’t admit to the allegations, the lawyer said.
The education board conducted a survey last month and concluded there was no bullying involved for children and students who voluntarily evacuated, but failed to include the bullied victim.
Tomohiro Kurosawa, a lawyer in charge of providing support, said “other evacuees have also been consulting us about bullying, and this needs to be handled properly.”
Evacuated in fifth grade
The student in question evacuated with his family when he was in fifth grade, the lawyer said, and they started living in an apartment in Kawasaki City with assistance from relatives.
The student was unable to make friends at school after he transferred to a public elementary school to start a new semester because he was nervous.
The boy learned that his family was cutting down expenses as evacuees and refrained from buying books he liked, choosing instead to read them where he could at bookstores and libraries.
‘Stay away from me’
Once the boy entered middle school, his classmates started bullying him by saying such things as “Fukushima people are idiots” and “stay away from me,” in addition to being assaulted.
The bullying stopped after the student and his parents consulted school officials, though the bullies never admitted to the allegations and the abuse was never resolved.
The student now attends a high school in Kanagawa Prefecture, where his life is said to be settling down little by little as he focuses on school clubs and studying.
Numerous students being bullied for evacuating from Fukushima Prefecture have been reported, including in Yokohama City and Niigata Prefecture.
In Tokyo, bullies blackmailed a female middle school student into buying snacks and drinks by threatening to expose that she was an evacuee.