JAPAN - An education ministry survey revealed that 38,846 schools nationwide reported 198,108 bullying cases in the 2012 academic year, three times more than in the previous year.
The figure is the highest on record since the survey began in 1985, according to the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry.
"As schools have increased awareness of bullying since a middle school boy in Otsu committed suicide in 2011, they have apparently become more active in detecting it," said a ministry official.
The survey was conducted through prefectural education boards. If the same student was bullied multiple times, each instance was counted as one case.
There were 117,383 cases of bullying in primary schools, 63,634 in middle schools and 16,274 in high schools. All three figures increased from the previous year. About 60 per cent of schools detected bullying.
With multiple answers allowed, "making fun of and teasing" victims was the most common form of bullying at 127,305 cases. The number of cases involving physical harm or victims being forced to do something dangerous was 17,249, and the number of slandering cases using computers and mobile phones was 7,855.
The 2012 figures exceeded those in the previous year in most prefectures. Kagoshima Prefecture was at the top of the list with 32,167 bullying cases, and Chiba Prefecture was second with 21,028 cases. The education board said the number of reported cases increased as they increased the number of questionnaires or set up complaint boxes.