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Universities in western Japan take measures against alcohol harassment

By Atsushi Ebihara (Xinhua)

08:07, May 14, 2012

OSAKA, May 13 (Xinhua) -- Universities in the western Japanese prefecture of Osaka are tackling on the prevalence of alcohol- related harassment among college students amid rising concerns over the loss of young lives from excessive alcohol.

In Japan, a danger to students who participate in drinking parties is reportedly emerging, especially when they are forced to drink in spring time, the start of the academic year for most of the educational institutions. Local press earlier this month warned universities and organizations involved in alcohol abuse should take a series of measures to raise awareness of the danger of alcohol harassment, or "aruhara."

On May 7, nine students at the Otaru University of Commerce in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido were taken to hospital due to alcohol poisoning. Doctors said one freshman was unconscious.

The hospitalized students were members of a group consisting of around 60 men and women associated with the university's American Football Club. They collapsed following an extended period of alcohol consumption at a party.

According to Japan Specified Non-profit Corporation to Prevent Alcohol and Drug Problems, or ASK, two students in Japan have already died after enforced drinking.

The organization said in the 2010 academic year, for example, there were nearly 80 cases of insurance benefits being paid to students who were hospitalized for acute alcohol poisoning. ASK spokesperson Akiko Baba, in an interview with Xinhua, estimated that the actual number of those carried to medical institutions could be much more than the official data.

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