“Can You Understand The Struggle of The Bereaved Family?” (19)
2023.08.30 14:14 Nanami Nakagawa
Hayato Fukuura’s mother Saori submitted a written opinion to Kyodo News under the joint name of her husband Daisuke.
This is because she learned that Kyodo News had questioned Chapter 11 of Ishikawa’s book “The Sanctuary of Bullying,” which followed Hayato’s suicide case and that an examination committee had been set up to pursue Ishikawa.
Chapter 11 criticizes the reporting attitude of the Nagasaki Shimbun. Saori argues that these criticisms are justifiable one by one, showing the grounds.
First, she discussed the appropriateness of the expression, “Local media ignores.”
Saori Fukura (Photo by Nanami Nakagawa on June 8, 2023)
Examination Committee, “Logical gap beyond the scope of criticism”
In a letter addressed to Ishikawa on December 14, 2022, the examination committee stated the following reasons for conducting the examination.
“The examination committee suspects that the 11th chapter of ‘The Sanctuary of Bullying,’ ‘Adults Who Want To Escape Responsibility,’ has not been sufficiently corroborated and that there is a logical gap beyond the scope of the criticism.”
In addition, they listed some parts that they considered were particularly problematic.
The first is that Ishikawa described Nagasaki Shimbun’s certain act as “ignoring.”
On November 17, 2020, Ishikawa reported from Kyodo News, “Kaisei High camouflages suicide as ‘sudden death’ / Nagasaki Prefecture also confirms, suspected violation of national guidelines.”
After Hayato committed suicide, Kaisei Gakuen High School proposed to the bereaved family to explain Hayato’s death as a “sudden death” rather than a suicide. This was completely unacceptable to the bereaved family. However, the proposal was confirmed by Osamu Matsuo, a counselor of the Academic Promotion Division of the General Affairs Department of Nagasaki Prefecture.
Ishikawa’s article got public attention. On the day the article was published, it appeared on the top page of Yahoo! News, and at least 15 newspapers outside Nagasaki Prefecture reported it in the morning paper of the next day, including the top social section of the Tokyo Shimbun.
However, the Nagasaki Shimbun, which has the highest market share in Nagasaki Prefecture, did not report it at all. Based on these facts, Ishikawa wrote in his book that the series of events had been “disregarded by the local media” and added the subheading “Local media ignores.”
“Hesitation when the criticism is directed at the administration?”
Saori could not understand what was wrong with Ishikawa’s expression of “ignoring” for two reasons.
The first is that the content of Ishikawa’s article, which the Nagasaki Shimbun did not report, reveals an important fact. It is based on the recording data provided to Ishikawa by the bereaved family.
Because it is a significant fact supported by evidence, it is fair to use the term “ignoring” to avoid addressing it.
We recorded our interactions with the school and Nagasaki Prefecture, but we kept this secret for a long time. The reason I didn’t make it public is because I believed the judiciary was the last line of defense.
We had decided that we would only disclose these recording data in court, but after meeting with your company’s reporter, Ishikawa’s enthusiastic and sincere attitude, we decided to entrust the recording data to him.
Reporter Ishikawa published an article on this day based on the recorded data. As it is written in the book, the prefectural staff confirmed the statement that the school proposed to us that the child’s death could be a sudden death.
The other is the anomaly of the local paper, the Nagasaki Shimbun, making no mention of it, yet other media caught up on Ishikawa’s report, and the public was startled.
This new revelation created a lot of buzz on the Internet because no one knew that the recorded evidence existed.
In fact, shortly after the article went up, we received phone calls from local news outlets. The Nagasaki Shimbun contacted us as well. There was even a TV station that aired the news as the first report around 6:50 p.m. that evening. I felt the response and naturally expected this topic would be covered in the morning paper the next day.
Nevertheless, no matter where I looked in the prefecture’s newspapers the next day, there was no company reporting on this topic. It appeared to have been published in a newspaper outside the prefecture, and that publication reported an article on the Internet, so I became aware of the situation outside the prefecture.
We couldn’t understand why none of the media outlets in Nagasaki didn’t report on the staff’s response, which was regarded as a problem in other prefectures. Although the confrontation between the bereaved family and the school has been widely reported, I wondered if there would be any hesitation when the criticism was directed at the administration.
Later, I heard from a new person in charge of the prefecture that, in spite of our doubts and anxieties, the prefecture had already been flooded with complaints over the phone from all over the country.
Saori concluded that Ishikawa’s statement that “local media ignores” was true.
The examination committee seems to be objecting to Ishikawa’s assertion that the “local media ignored,” but we consider that this statement is true.
The truth revealed by us, the bereaved family, went up in flames on the Internet, and although it was published in many newspapers outside the prefecture, it was not accepted by the newspapers within the prefecture. Can you understand the struggle of the bereaved family?
To be continued.
(Originally published in Japanese on June 13, 2023. Translation by Mana Shibata.)Adults in the Student Suicide Case: All articles