Top court upholds ruling on bullying compensation

NHK -- Jan 25
Japan's Supreme Court has upheld a high court ruling that significantly reduced compensation for the parents of a junior high school student who killed himself after being bullied by classmates.

Presiding Justice Koike Hiroshi rejected an appeal filed by the parents, who were dissatisfied with the high court decision.

Their son committed suicide 10 years ago in the city of Otsu, Shiga Prefecture. His parents filed a lawsuit seeking compensation from some of his classmates and their parents.

The Otsu District Court concluded that the boy killed himself due to bullying, and ordered two classmates to pay roughly 360,000 dollars.

But the Osaka High Court cut the damages to about 38,000 dollars, saying that his parents' failure to provide mental support for their son should be taken into account.

The boy's father held a news conference on Monday after the top court's ruling.

He said courts at each level determined that bullying is a dangerous act that can drive victims to suicide, but that it wasn't seen that way when his son died.

The father said the overall case has shifted the trend in judicial decisions towards supporting the victims. He expressed hope that the case will help address bullying.