TOKYO – The education minister urged Japanese children to stop bullying their classmates, a news report said Friday, following a series of student suicides that shocked the public.
"You who are being bullied and suffering are never alone," Education Minister Bunmei Ibuki said at a news conference reading the statement, Kyodo News agency reported.
The education ministry plans to distribute copies of the statement to all students attending elementary, junior high and high schools across Japan, it said.
Officials at the ministry were not available for comment late Friday.
The statement urges bullying children to stop immediately and encourages bullied children to talk about their problems with others, Kyodo said.
The report follows a recent series of suicides by students linked to bullying at school. Several teenagers have killed themselves in October and November, apparently after being bullied.
Since last week, the ministry has received 27 anonymous letters, believed to be from students, outlining plans to commit suicide, according to national daily Mainichi Shimbun.
It was the first time since 1996 that the education minister issued an appeal regarding bullying, Kyodo said.