Adults in the Student Suicide Case

Bereaved Family Submits A Written Opinion To The Examination Committee (18)

2023.08.29 13:41 Nanami Nakagawa

A copy of the opinion letter sent to Kyodo News by the bereaved family of Hayato Fukuura (provided by the family)

On December 3, 2022, Saori Fukuura, who lives in Nagasaki City, and her husband Daisuke sent a letter to Kyodo News Chiba Bureau chief Ichiro Masamura.

She wanted him to refrain from pursuing responsibility for Yoichi Ishikawa, a reporter who was transferred from the Nagasaki bureau and belonged to the Chiba bureau. In the letter, she expressed her gratitude to Ishikawa and Kyodo News for in-depth coverage and reporting of her son Hayato’s suicide case.

However, Saori later learns that the letter has been ignored.

Even though he said to “read it”

Ishikawa contacted Saori on December 14. He told her that Kyodo News set up an examination committee on December 6 to pursue Ishikawa’s responsibility.

Saori was surprised.

Saori just sent a letter to Chiba Bureau Chief Masamura with Nagasaki’s famous sponge cake Casteilla on December 3. In the letter, she wrote that Ishikawa’s book was based on fact.

On December 5, she received a phone call from Masamura to thank her. Saori emphasized the existence of the letter, saying, “We expressed our feelings as a bereaved family in the letter.” When he said he would “read it,” Saori was relieved.

Nevertheless, Kyodo News set up an examination committee the very next day.

Saori thought, “Why did Mr. Masamura call me? If the examination committee had been prepared to pursue Mr. Ishikawa, he shouldn’t have called her to thank me.”

She wrote the letter all night on New Year’s Eve

After hearing from Ishikawa, Saori decided to submit a written opinion to Kyodo News. There were two reasons.

First, she felt sorry for Ishikawa, who devoted himself to the investigation, for having had a hard time. Ishikawa was the only journalist who had done his investigation to ensure that no child, like Hayato, committed suicide as a result of bullying.

The other reason is the justification for establishing the examination committee that she heard from Ishikawa. Kyodo News explains:

“There is a suspicion that the credibility of the articles distributed by Kyodo News, a news agency, and the quality of the reporter have been damaged.”

Saori felt that her family who were interviewed by Ishikawa were being told that they were lying.

She thought she would regret it for the rest of her life if she didn’t express her opinion then.

Yet, both Saori and her husband, Daisuke, had a full schedule until the beginning of the year. They were busy with their work and had an event with their relatives coming up. They had little free time.

It was New Year’s Eve when Saori was able to work on the letter.

Kyodo News is a large organization and a news agency. They may find fault with even a minor error. She could not make a mistake. She took out all of the materials she had so far in order to write while checking the facts.

The documents were scattered all over the dining table, on the floor, and in the living room. She also watched the recording of the news program that reported on Hayato’s incident.

The letter addressed to Masamura was ignored. “If that letter didn’t convey our feelings, we have to prepare something that can convey our feelings even more.”

Saori did not go to sleep that night. Before she knew it, it was a new year.

Bereaved family: “We deplore your response “

Saori and Daisuke jointly submitted a 9-page opinion to the examination committee as “bereaved families who lost their children to bullying.” First and foremost, she explained why she decided to give a written opinion, citing the fact that she had already written to Masamura, the chief of the Chiba bureau.

We are the bereaved family who lost our child to bullying.


We’d like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for constantly reporting our voices to society.


I heard from reporter Ishikawa that your company has set up an examination committee for the book “The Sanctuary of Bullying,” written by reporter Ishikawa of your company’s Chiba Bureau office.


As you already know, this book is a true story based on our case, and the contents are completely factual. We were very surprised to hear that the content of this book, which contains facts, is suspected to have damaged the credibility of your company’s distributed articles and the quality of your reporters, and that you have set up an internal examination committee.


We, the bereaved family, believe your company formed an examination committee based on the conclusion that the contents of the book were fraudulent. Although we do not intend to be rude, concerning the issues your company believes are troublesome, we, as the party interviewed by reporter Ishikawa, would like to provide our perspective to the examination committee.


In addition, in December 2022, we wrote to your company’s Chiba Bureau chief, thanking you for publishing the book and completing an investigation and staying close to the bereaved family till today. We will also include a copy of another company’s newspaper from November 2020 as evidence of how our case was reported in Nagasaki Prefecture at the time. Please understand that this opinion letter might have some overlap with the contents of the letter I previously sent.

Saori then points out how irrational the claims of Kyodo News and Nagasaki Shimbun were while presenting facts.

To be continued.

(Originally published in Japanese on June 12, 2023. Translation by Mana Shibata.)

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