Determine what factors led to stabbing murder at junior high

A third-year boy at a municipal junior high school in the city of Yatomi, Aichi Prefecture, fatally stabbed another male student in the same grade. The police must thoroughly investigate to find out what was behind this case.

The incident occurred before classes started on Wednesday morning. The student who attacked called the other student, who was in a classroom, into the hallway and stabbed him with a kitchen knife with a 20-centimeter-long blade. The police arrested the attacker on suspicion of attempted murder and are investigating the case after changing the charge to homicide.

The two students belonged to separate homerooms, but they were in the same homeroom last school year. They also went to the same elementary school. The stab wound reached the victim’s internal organs and the boy may have committed the crime with a strong intent to kill.

The assailant reportedly told police that he sometimes felt uncomfortable when dealing with the victim. The school said it had not heard of any trouble between the two students.

The police need to put the utmost effort into investigating the case through such steps as hearing from the attacker as well as other people concerned to find out the motive.

Couldn’t the school have noticed any signs before the worst happened. The board of education and the school plan to set up a third-party committee. The circumstances leading up to the incident must be thoroughly examined.

This junior high school is relatively small, with fewer than 140 students. Not a small number of them saw bloodstains and heard screams. The psychological impact on students is troubling.

The board of education and schools should appoint school counselors to take good care of students’ mental health.

There have been a number of incidents in recent years in which elementary, junior high and high school students killed or injured their classmates and others with knives at school. However, it is difficult to prevent students from bringing knives into schools, and safety measures have focused on responding to intruders from outside.

The attacking student reportedly told police that he bought the kitchen knife online in advance.

The fact that a junior high school student can easily purchase a knife must not be overlooked. Measures on the sale of knives to minors must be considered, such as requiring parental consent, as some companies are already doing.

Children today have many opportunities to be exposed to brutal scenes such as murder and violence through videos, games and other means. Isn’t there a risk that the tendency to take life lightly will spread among young people? It is essential for society as a whole to make steady efforts to make them understand others’ pain and the preciousness of life.

Life is irreplaceable and precious. When it is lost, it cannot be regained. Loss of life brings grief to family members, friends and many people. The importance of life must be repeatedly conveyed to children in schools and homes.

— The original Japanese article appeared in The Yomiuri Shimbun on Nov. 27, 2021.