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Okinawan student attacks classmate with a knife

Date Posted: 1998-03-14

On Monday, a fifteen-year-old boy from Tomishiro Village threatened a younger schoolmate with a butcher's knife and inflicted injuries on the victimÕs arms and legs. The reason given for the attack was "I was older than him." The attacker was known as a bully in his junior high school.

Similar incidents in mainland Japan have prompted Okinawa officials to begin educating school children on the dangers of knives and the importance of talking to an adult if problems become too burdensome.

Okinawa Prefecture Board of Education Chairman, Hajime Amuro, responded to the attack by saying, "I feel so sorry that this happened in Okinawa Prefecture. We have tried to protect the students ahead of time due to the situation in Tokyo and other areas in mainland. We must prevent this from happening by educating the students. We must decide immediately on a policy." He further stated that some schools have began questioning elementary children and the answers elicited from the students give cause for worry. Thirty percent of students questioned said they had knives in their possession and most students, it seems, prefer to turn to a friend or their mother if they are in need of help. Teachers and fathers were not included as people the children trust.

The Board of Education is currently trying to get permission from local principals to question more students and are planning to offer counseling to students.

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