66,807 child abuse cases reported in fiscal 2012


The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare says that reported cases of child abuse rose again last year for the 22nd consecutive year.

According to a report released by the ministry, the number of reported child abuse cases requiring intervention by child consultation centers was 66,807, an increase of 11.5% over fiscal 2011, TBS reported Friday. The ministry added that this was the highest number since records began in 1990.

The ministry said it believes the increase is due to continued efforts to raise awareness of child welfare issues and to encourage members of the public to report suspected abuses.

The ministry added that its new system to allow for suspension of parental authority, introduced in April 2012, has so far resulted in 15 suspensions out of 27 cases brought before family courts, TBS reported.

By prefecture, Osaka had the highest number with 9,875, followed by Kanagawa at 8,324 and Saitama at 4,853, the ministry report said.

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Wow! An 11.5% increase. That is quite a lot. I wonder how many cases went unreported.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Everytime I see a story like this I wonder.

They say the figures are up because more people are reporting it. They never admit that the number of adults abusing children (their own or their partner's) are increasing. Also it's never on the news how they are acting to prevent it.

I wonder...

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Good to see Saitama not top of at least one crime list. Is this a lot by global standards?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

if you're gonna compare to global standards, then you need to take population size into perspective

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If I have the contact info of a man in Japan whom I KNOW has neglected and abused his son, what should I do? When I used to work at my previous school, there was a kid who the dad was bringing there because he had taken the kid away from the mom and the school made a deal that they would basically 'hide' the kid and not tell anyone if they called that he was there. The kid ate basically garbage because the dad just gave him a bit of money (a 5 year old kid) and let him feed himself. The kid was put into extra curricular activities until 9 pm each day so that teachers could always watch him. I remember when the Earthquake happened the dad got in contact with me and said 'Can you take him? And make sure he gets to his piano lesson on March 12th!'.

The dad was basically ignoring him and letting other teachers raise him. He never gave the kid a bath (I am not exaggerating) and never washed his clothes (again, seriously). For a while he tried to give him to me but I couldn't take him because he caught me washing the kid's extra clothes. The dad is a University professor in Tokyo. He makes soooooooo much money and neglects his son whom he is trying to hide from a woman who is looking for this boy. I watched as he yelled and hit him and then also left him to his own devices. The kid dropped out of the school I was teaching at and is now about 8-9 and right before I left Japan, I was walking in one of the towns in Tokyo and I found the kid, looking like a homeless in a school uniform. Dirty with no food and when he saw me, I asked him why on Earth he was there and looked the way he did. He ran away from me and didn't answer.

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You start with the police or a hospital special unit.

It sounds like abuse to me and it could escalate.

This will not go away and as a witness you are his only hope.

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@Jessica Marie Sato

If it hadn't happened so many years ago, I would have thought that story was mine ! Right down to the father being a University Professor !

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Jessica, this story matches a boy I taught English to in Ikebukuro. Where is this boy now?

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We should remember and acknowledge that, what is recognized as child abuse in Japan is not necessarily the same as other countries. Giving your kid a regular belting around the head or pinching and pushing your kid are considered discipline in Japan. Whereas, if you were to do this in other countries you would lose your kids. It's a matter of perspectives, I suppose. You can't see other perspectives when you are blind to your own.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Giving your kid a regular belting around the head or pinching and pushing your kid are considered discipline in Japan.

Blows to the head of a child by an adult are abuse no matter WHERE you live.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Fadamor - You haven't been in Japan very long, have you? As I said, things that are considered abuse in other countries are considered discipline in Japan. I've seen it all in the many years I've been here. Mothers knocking kids to the ground with a backhand slap across the face, fathers belting their teenage sons across the head in public and nearly knocking them out, pinching, pushing, aggressive slapping and screaming. The list goes on. I've also seen many school teachers dishing out similar forms of so-called "discipline'. The line between discipline and abuse in Japan is drawn in invisible ink.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Bad article. What constitutes "child abuse". They really need to define that. The number reported would mean more if it was also given as a percentage of the population. Osaka pref is about 8.863 million, Kanagawa pref is about 9.072 million, and Saitama is about 7.15 million. This would make Osaka much worse than just the numbers but they are all under a percent and all are over the national average. But from a perspective of children being sent away to work for years at a time, things are much improved. And as the article says, it wasn't until 1990 that they thought it was important enough to keep records. You can't compare this with other countries unless you know the definition.

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Disillusioned, if this is the case it explains why there are so many murders between family members in Japan.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Disillusioned is right in that the Japanese I have seen over the years dont even seem to try and hide the abuse they meet out to their kids on a daily basis. There is a world of difference between a disciplinary smack on the hand and a whack round the head - something I used to see almost daily.

Ill never forget sitting in the waiting area of a sushi place, with another family, and right in front of my eyes, for absolutely no reason whatsoever, the Mother leaned forward and punched her roughly 9 year old daughter square in the face. Absolutely NO provocation whatsoever, the kid had just been sitting there. The Mother noticed my horrified face and laughed and nudged her husband and said "Look at the gaijins face, she looks really shocked - ha ha ha!" I turned to my husband (who had also seen the whole thing) and begged him to call the police. He said there was no point - our word against theirs and they will just deny everything and our day will be ruined with 4 hours of paperwork for nothing. I said we have to do something but there was nothing we could do - and the bitch mother knew it and just laughed in my face. Her daughter didnt even cry or look shocked - she was clearly used to this kind of treatment. I was dying to punch the witch myself.

It may be that what Japanese culture constitutes "abuse" is different to us - but that still doesnt make it ok.

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When an innocent, vulnerable child is brutalized by a person he or she may love or trust, child abuse occurs. Some types of child abuse are easy to detect and others are not. One of the worse stereotypes of child abuse is that child abuse mainly occurs in bad neighborhoods, which is not true. It can could happen anywhere. Why some people abuse children is hard to explain. Most people that abuse their children were abused as children or and came from broken homes. However it's not an excuse for wrong doings but it is an explanation. Children see beauty in everything and it's wrong that people are taking their innocence away. If a child is being abused people should call the child abuse hotline because you may be saving their life. Child abuse is a terrible thing. We have the power to lower the deaths that happen because of child abuse. Child abuse is an ongoing painful cycle, and the children that were abused will have to live with it for their whole life, continually thinking that their not worth it, when they truly are beautiful inside and out. Children are special and a gift from God, and are our future. The last thing people should do is abuse a vulnerable, innocent child. It's very sad. It can damage a person forever. But I know from my own experience that eventually you can learn to forgive your parents. Now I love my parents.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hopefully this increase in reported abuse cases reflects a trend toward people here becoming less inclined to bury their heads in the sand when they learn of these horrors. Unfortunately, people who report such instances here are usually treated like they are a perpetrator -- particularly if the person reporting the incident is non-Japanese.

As in the case @Jessica relayed, many times even teachers have knowledge/proof of abuse yet fail to take any action (such as contacting police or hospital special units as @twinans suggests). Even worse, these children are often treated as outcasts by their teachers and classmates.

Many years ago when I was a teacher I and the other seven or so other teachers in charge of the 10th grader class had to interview students with poor academic performance. One girl came in with visible bruises on her arms and face, and a black eye. She told us she had fallen down the stairs at the station. After she left the room the other teachers acted as if they had believed her story. I was astonished, and told them there was no way those sorts of injuries were a result of a fall. I got the 'naruhodo' type response, but no further discussion and nothing ever came of it.

I am as guilty as they were for not taking action, but if I had done so (which I should have) there would have been extremely hard feelings against me from among my colleagues.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I'm just not sure what to do, its a hard call. I moved out of Japan in April. But you know, I always think of that boy. I wish I could have adopted him. He has great potential if only someone could break him away from the terrible cycle he was born into. I would say he is about 9 now. As for where he is, I have no idea. EVERYONE who reads these messages. Guys, if you know of a kid who is being abused and you have PROOF (bruises that aren't normal, clear vocal abuse, clear distress in the child, GO to the police. Help that kid. You have no idea how much you would be giving that child a brighter future by getting them out of that situation. If you don't, it may ride on your conscience for the rest of your life, like it does on mine.

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