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Japan lawmakers approve anti-bullying legislation

The upper house of Japan's National Diet, the House of Councillors [official website] on Friday gave final approval to legislation aimed at combating bullying [JURIST news archive]. The law defines bullying that causes serious mental or physical harm as "serious." Under the new legislation, schools must report serious cases [Kyodo News report] to the appropriate governmental bodies and set up investigative panels. The law also requires the government to monitor for online bullying activity. The bill was passed in response to a series of bullying incidents in Japan, including a 2011 case that resulted in a student committing suicide. The legislation has already been approved the lower house, the House of Representatives [official website].

Bullying is an increasingly important issue across the globe. In 2011 US Representative Jared Polis and Senator Al Franken [official websites] introduced legislation [JURIST report] to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students in federally funded public elementary and high schools from bullying. The Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) [text, PDF] was reintroduced in both the US House of Representatives and the Senate [official websites] prompted by the suicides resulting from anti-LGBT bullying of numerous students in the US. The legislation, however, failed to make it out of committee.

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