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Chapter 3   For the Cultivation of "Richness in Mind"
Section 2   Current Circumstances Surrounding Children
2.   Growing concerns over the present state of violence, bullying, non-attendance at school, etc.

  There are growing concerns over violence, bullying and non-attendance at schools. Causes and backgrounds of these problematic actions are different in each and every case. In general, the causes are assumed to be the elements that are entangled among aggravating social environments that surround youth today. Such elements are: (1)discipline from infants at homes, (2)condition of schools inadequately equipped and lacking the capacity to deal with the various abilities and potential of children, (3)lack of actual life experience, dilution of consideration for others and a low sense of unity.

  It should be also mentioned that cases of crimes against children and child abuse are on the increase in recent years.

(1) Violence

  Statistics show that the occurrence of assault and battery (against teachers, among students, against others, property destructions) in schools committed by students of state-owned elementary, lower, or upper secondary schools across the country is recorded at 33130 cases in 5,962 schools in FY 2001. It was the first decline since 1997. (See Figure 1-3-3 )

Figure 1-3-3 Transition of occurrence of acts of violence in schools

(2) Bullying

  The number of bullying cases in the state owned elementary, lower and upper secondary schools, or special education schools across the country in FY 2001 is 25,037 cases in 8,085 schools, and it has been on the downward trend for six consecutive years. (See Figure 1-3-4 )

Figure 1-3-4 Transition of Bullying Cases

(3) Non-attendance at school

  The number of students who missed schools for more than 30 days in FY 2001 with reasons of "non-attendance at school" in state-owned and private elementary and lower secondary schools across the country is 138,722 (1.2% of total number of students in the nation), the highest level recorded since the start of the survey. (See Figure 1-3-5 )

Figure 1-3-5 Transition of the Number of Students who Refuse to Attend Schools

(4) High school dropout

  The total number of state-owned and private upper secondary school dropouts is 104,894, and the ratio of dropout among all students (dropout rate) is 2.6%. (See Figure 1-3-6 )

Figure 1-3-6 Transition of the Number of Senior-high School Dropouts

(5) Juvenile delinquency

  The number of juveniles violating the penal code in 2001 is 138,654, and it increased by 6,318 (48%) from the previous year. (See Figure 1-3-7 )

Figure 1-3-7 Transition of the Number of Arrested Juveniles Who Offended the Criminal Law and its Population Ratio

(6) Occurrence of crimes against children

  According to statistics of the National Police Agency, the number of cases of crimes against children (underage children) in FY 2001 is 410,507 and it is an increase of 57,754 (16.4%) from the previous year. In addition, according to statistics of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the number of recorded child abuse cases in FY 2001 is 23,274: an increase of 5,549 (31.3%) from the previous year. (See Figure 1-3-8 )

Figure 1-3-8 The Number of Child Abuse Cases at Children's Consultation Offices (The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare)

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