SUKAGAWA, Fukushima Prefecture--An independent panel on Dec. 25 attributed the suicide of a 13-year-old boy earlier this year here to bullying by numerous classmates and criticized the failure of his school to take action.

“They did not see the issue seriously and failed to appropriately instruct (the bullying students),” said the panel commissioned by the city's board of education of the negligence of his junior high school in Sukagawa.

The first-year student hanged himself at home on the morning of Jan. 27. No suicide note was found.

The board of education admitted in February that the boy complained of bullying during more than one interview and on questionnaires conducted in July 2016 and later.

It set up the panel in March this year to investigate if the bullying contributed to the student’s suicide and what the school did to address the situation.

The student was reported to have been bullied by nine male classmates who said, “He might have germs.” Some of the other club members in a school activity called the student by a nickname that denigrated his hairstyle, according to the report.

Furthermore, his fellow students repeatedly made fun of and taunted him.

“The student felt stressed because it seems that he could not adapt to the school. And he chose to kill himself with being bullied as the main factor,” the report concluded.

Some teachers at the school downplayed the seriousness of the bullying believing that, “(Such students) are not bullying him, but playing a prank.”

The information was not sufficiently shared among teachers.

“They did not appropriately instruct and advise (such bullying students), which increased the seriousness of the problem," the report said.