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4. Bullying and delinquency
According to the data obtained from the Elementary and Secondary Education Bureau, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, 31,359 incidents of bullying were in public elementary, junior high, senior high, and special education schools in 1999 (fiscal year) (a drop of 13.8% from the previous year). By type of bullying (the aggregate total of 43,487 incidents), teasing and taunting had the largest cases with 12,649 incidents (29.1%), followed by verbal threats with 7,799 cases (17.9%), assaults with 6,828 cases (15.7%), and exclusions from groups with 6,068 cases (14.0%). In short, bullying takes various forms, not all of which are considered the focus of criminal justice procedures. Moreover, in reality the very nature of bullying makes it difficult to grasp the actual situations.
The number of cases resulting from bullying and the number of juveniles subjected to guidance for bullying both showed a long-term downward trend after peaking in 1985 at 638 cases and 1,950 persons. In 2000, however, the number of cases rose by 33 (24.1%) to 170 cases, while the number of juveniles subjected to guidance increased by 81 persons (22.0%) to 450 persons (source:Community Safety Bureau, National Police Agency). Concerning bullying, there are cases in which juvenile victims may commit homicide, bodily injury, etc. in retaliation for bullying or commit suicide. Of the 170 cases resulting from bullying in 2000, 11 cases were classified as retaliation.
In 1994, the Ministry of Justice launched the system of Civil Liberties Commissioners for the Rights of the Child to handle issues of children's rights professionally. 687 commissioners were placed in Legal Affairs Bureaus and District Legal Affairs Bureaus nationwide as of June 1, 2001, to provide consultation services to victims of bullying and to take appropriate measures to eliminate the practice of bullying.