Japanese authorities will issue new guidelines to help prevent injuries in schools when students perform  Kumitaiso or human pyramids. Kumitaiso is a gymnastic formation popularly known as human pyramid. The guidelines will be drafted by the end of March confirmed Education Minister Hiroshi Hase.

Hase, emphasizing the importance of the renewal of guidelines commented, “It involves the lives of children, and some of the casualties reported have led to serious injuries.”

The new guidelines are proposed to prevent serious injury as well as the subsequent insurance payout. According to Japan Sports Council, between 2011 and 2014, there were 8,000 cases a year  where insurance payments were made to cover medical bills.

The injuries sustained by the students during the performance of human pyramids include spinal cord damages and broken bones.

Hiroshi Hase confirmed that the government would analyse medical reports from elementary, junior high and high school students to find out how the injuries happened.

In Osaka, stricter rules are already introduced after a 10-tier pyramid collapsed at Taisho Junior High School in Yao last year. Six children were injured during this accident. The board of education has made the rule to limit the size of pyramids.

Saori Nanbu, an associate professor of forensic medicine at Yokohama City University, said, “ten-tier pyramids are quite high… Construction workers who work in high places are given protective gear, and hospitals are required to explain the risks fully to patients before putting them through medical procedures.”

She further emphasized that the schools would be violating students’ human rights if they still continue with the practice only for the sake of “a sense of accomplishment.”  She said that the risk of such a practice should be fully explained to the parents and students, so that, they can decide whether to take part or not.

A human pyramid involves students kneeling on each other’s back. The person at the top stands and the formation can be several storeys high. The practice is so popular in Japan that even junior members of royal family have taken part in them.