Tokyo: A ward in the Japanese capital, Tokyo is planning to set up websites for all of its 15 public junior high schools to receive reports and inquiries from students about bullying, officials said.
The move comes after a 12-year-old first grader at a ward-run junior high school in the Shinagawa Ward committed suicide in September last year after being bullied.
Under the plan, the ward office will provide a printed bar code to all of its 4,700 junior high school students to allow them to access the websites through their cell phones.
The reports and inquiries, which can be submitted anonymously from mobile phones, will be gathered by an external nonprofit organization based in Hiroshima Prefecture.
The ward`s education board determined in November that there was a "close connection" between the bullying and the suicide.
Police are still investigating the suicide case on suspicion of criminal assault.
Concerns are growing, however, that by encouraging anonymous tips the system may infringe on students` privacy.
Students can anonymously report the names of those who have become the targets of bullying and how they are being bullied, according to the officials.
The ward office is considering eventually introducing the system at ward-run primary schools as well, the officials said.
Saitama Prefecture introduced a similar system in April, but students there are required to report bullying under their own names.
Hosei University Professor Naoki Ogi criticized the Shinagawa ward`s reporting system for allowing anonymous tips.
"It is also problematic that the ward office entrusts information on bullying to an outside organisation as it may lead to privacy abuses," Ogi added. (Kyodo)