Japan last year saw a record number of cases in which schools failed to protect children from being bullied, the justice ministry said Friday.
The government received 2,152 cases last year in which teachers, principals and other school authorities did not prevent bullying, a jump of 121.2 percent from 2006, the ministry said in an annual report.
Advertisement"I am greatly alarmed as this concerns children who are unable to protect their human rights on their own," Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama said.
The report attributed the surge in cases to government efforts started last year that included establishing hotlines for children to call for help or websites to seek counselling.
Japan's schools have long been notorious for bullying, a phenomenon experts attribute to the intense social pressure to blend in.
Japan stepped up measures amid a national alarm in 2006 when at least four children killed themselves in a matter of days and the education minister said he received an anonymous letter from a bullied student contemplating suicide.
But the figures released Friday also showed that bullying was not exclusive to schools.
The number of cases in which public officials and teachers said they were harassed rose 67.3 percent to 3,829 cases.