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article image11-year-old commits suicide over plans to close his school

By Greta McClain     Feb 17, 2013 in World
Daito - An 11-year-old Japanese boy committed suicide Thursday after officials announced plans to close the elementary school he was attending.
The school was set to close due to consolidation efforts needed because of Japan's low birth rates. The government planned to split the student body, sending the students to two different schools.
The plans upset the child and in a desperate effort to try and save his school from closure, he wrote a letter to the school before jumping in front of a rapid-service train at the Nozaki Station in Daito, Japan. The letter, which investigators found in the boy's backpack, stated:
"Please stop the plan to abolish and merge schools in exchange for the death of an innocent person."
Police officials are investigating the case as a suicide, saying along with the note, eyewitnesses confirm the boy jumped onto the train tracks himself.
Officals with the Daito Municipal Board of Education said the school was scheduled to merge with the other two schools in April. A closing ceremony for the school closing was scheduled for February 17th. On Wednesday, the boy expressed concern of the ceremony, reportedly asking:
"Isn't there any way to stop the closing ceremony? The school is being shut down, but no one is listening to how we feel."
The boys mother said her son sent a text message before his death, telling her "Thanks for everything you've done. I love you all." She went on to tell Mainichi:
"I'm frustrated that I wasn't able to pick up on my son's feelings. I don't want other children to think that they can change the world by committing suicide."
According to the Global Post, Japan has one of the highest suicide rates among developed countries. Last year was the first time in fifteen years the number of suicides dipped below 30,000.
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