Yua Funato is seen in this image taken from the Facebook page of her mother Yuri Funato.
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Gov't to review parents' disciplinary right in effort to reduce child abuse

31 Comments

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Do they really think changing the Civil Code will reduce child abuse? Seriously? The seem to be missing the points of why so many children are abused in Japan. You can start with economic pressures, but that does not explain why so many parents are so callous and mean to their children. The education system and working culture drives all the love out of the society. Children are bullied and intimidated throughout their schooling years in a virtual 24/7 prison system. Fathers are prisoners of their companies and barely spend time with their kids. And, mothers are full time carers for both the children and the father (and ailing parents), which drives the love out of any relationship. There is no love in Japan! People do not respect themselves and, as a result, they do not respect others as well, which leads to all the extremely nasty treatment of kids in Japan.

12 ( +18 / -6 )

This will scare everyone, all the good parents, except for child abusers.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Going to ask career beauracrts for advice on child abuse? How about asking social workers, mental health experts. Psychology experts. What a strange group of people to turn to for advice (Beauracract minions).

9 ( +10 / -1 )

OK, but even if it's not the solution, reviewing the law is not, by itself, harmful.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There is no love in Japan! 

This seems like an oversimplification to the child abuse problem. Most children are not abused physically.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Disillusioned hit the nail on the head, spot on

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This will scare everyone, all the good parents, except for child abusers.

This!

I know they want to eradicate child abuse but this can't be fixed with a simple LAW. This is just pretending they are doing something about the problem.

Why don't they give the police or child protection services more power instead, that would be much better.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Every time I see Yua's photo my heart breaks knowing she was begging for her parents' love and their forgiveness...

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@papigiulio Today 04:39 pm JST

I know they want to eradicate child abuse but this can't be fixed with a simple LAW. This is just pretending they are doing something about the problem. Why don't they give the police or child protection services more power instead, that would be much better.

Because before you give power to people to enforce right and wrong, you need to decide exactly what right and wrong is. Otherwise, even if the enforcement authority can determine the facts with perfect accuracy (a pipe dream), without clear delineations of right and wrong they cannot decide whether to intrude into family affairs or not.

You might even want to distinguish between right, dubious, wrong and very wrong. Obviously this will mean progressive more intrusive measures will be justified, ut first you need to decide where the delineators are in substantive law.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

And of course, the oversimplification, some people just SHOULDN’T have children.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The problem is also that there are not enough punishments for parents who abuse their child, and reading these article gives me the impression that sometimes even social workers do not check properly.

If I'm not wrong, by the law, even if you abuse your child you can't get stripped of parental authority right?

Looking into social problems that lead to child abuse is a very complex task, but generalizing you could say that Japanese society is a very stressed one, and also that education nowadays still have that militaristic imprinting that was given in the past. A lot of emphasis is put on discipline, respecting formal ties etc, and I think they're neglecting a proper attention on the "inside" of things, like on the psychological well-being of people.

Moreover, relationships between people most of the times are just burdens to bear, since they're wrapped in formalities and rules, which kind of takes away the pleasure of being with people (even with family).

I reckon they're acting like: "as long as everything looks good (even if it isn't) then there's no reason to act."

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Separately, Yamashita said he will also request the advisory panel to review a Civil Code provision that assumes a child born within 300 days of a divorce was fathered by the previous husband.

Wow, buried in the depths is a topic that deserves it own article!

This is one of the many archaic laws on the books here that MUST be removed!

As of April this year, 827 people were without a family registry, according to the Justice Ministry.

Right, where in the hell did they pull this number from? If they arent registered there is more than likely no accurate number known!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Having children is a kind of duty in Japan. It’s just like eating all your rice. Too many parents consider children to be a burden. And, these same parents are not emotionally mature enough to handle the responsibility of having children. Then, we could move into mental health with all the depressed and delusional parents produced in this society and it’s not difficult to understand why so many children are abused. I’ve taught in many private and public high schools in Japan for nearly two decades and I have to agree with Disillusioned. Children are bullied, intimidated and pressured to excel at every level from the day they start junior high. This pressure also comes from their parents. I’ve heard literally hundreds of horror stories from students of how their parents discipline them. Starving is probably the most common. “You didn’t get an A, so you don’t eat!” Then, there is being locked on balconies or in cupboards and bathrooms for extended periods of time. And, let’s not forget the good old head slap and punch. People are very mean to their kids in Japan. I saw one woman on a train pinch a huge piece of skin on her 8y/o daughter’s thigh and twist it until she screamed just because the kid was swinging her legs I saw another woman slap her 10y/o son to the ground at a train station because he was bothering her for a drink while she was playing ‘Smack the hamster’ on her phone in the middle of summer. parents are just mean to their kids in Japan

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I am just wondering how many more children will have to die before the "reviews" stop and justice will start being served. I won't hold my breath on that one, as I might die waiting.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Serrano,

i feel exactly the same way, as I'm sure do most people. The photo of such a sweet and happy looking little kid is really hard to look at, knowing what happened to her.

Some very bleak pictures of family life being painted on this page, I hope some of the new legislation does start to change attitudes.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

From one extreme to the other... the important thing is 'avoiding responsibility'. If it is said in the laws, then we are OK. Moral... ethic... common sense... futile words...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Actually the incidence of child abuse by parents hasn't been increasing. The sensationalism caused by the mass media just gives an impression to the people that child abuse happens all over Japan and is rapidly increasing.

Off course some proper measures should be carried out to reduce and prevent it, though.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Child abuse isn’t a stand alone issue. By that I mean the issue can’t be solved by ONLY looking at child abuse.

Japanese society is riddled with abuse - be it the kohai / sempai relationship; the way teachers ‘discipline’ students; the way sports coaches treat their athletes; the way managers treat their subordinates at work; the way certain older people treat younger people etc etc.

The reason SOME people abuse their children is because they themselves are products of the system.

If you’re serious about facing the issue then many different areas of society need to be looked at - otherwise you’re just trying to remove one or two ants and completely ignoring the nest.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Japanese courts have no authority to even order police to submit non-fiction reports, or turn over their case files, it's a complete farce.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So evil will be illegal. The world peace must be coming soon.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is a great deal of mixing common parenting discipline actions with criminal assault going on with this Civil Code review initiative. Denying a child basic needs such as food and sleep cannot be rationally conflated with a quick slap on the butt of a misbehaving child. I seriously doubt the police have a problem distinguishing the difference. This appears to be a case of government officials looking for a problem to solve.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Too late!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Stupid govt forever.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

*There is a great deal of mixing common parenting discipline actions with criminal assault going on with this Civil Code review initiative. Denying a child basic needs such as food and sleep cannot be rationally conflated with a quick slap on the butt of a misbehaving child. I seriously doubt the police have a problem distinguishing the difference. *This appears to be a case of government officials looking for a problem to solve.

Good parents don't need to beat their children and Japan clearly does have a problem with child abuse.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Whatever they do won't work and the photo really doesn't go with the article. Disciplinary actions are just that and what that kid on the photo went throgh was a totally different thing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There's a big difference between discipline and abuse - one is to correct a childs bad behaviour the other is the parents behaving badly.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Wolfpack May 31 08:36 pm JST

Thank you for providing a live demonstration as to why our current exercise is necessary.

There is a great deal of mixing common parenting discipline actions with criminal assault going on with this Civil Code review initiative. Denying a child basic needs such as food and sleep cannot be rationally conflated with a quick slap on the butt of a misbehaving child. I seriously doubt the police have a problem distinguishing the difference. This appears to be a case of government officials looking for a problem to solve.

So, according to you, denial of food and sleep is worse than a quick slap. Not everyone may necessarily agree, and certainly not the Criminal Law, where the latter is a criminal offense (assault) and the former is mere inaction and would meet the definition of zero articles in the Penal code (thus, not a crime). Even if the child dies from this, while there have been rare cases where inaction formed the basis of a homicide conviction, the conditions are tight and offer little comfort of criminal liability even in such a scenario.

Not only would we have to make one set of rules for the enforcers to enforce, but we might have to formalize both new justifications and new restrictions. If for example, the final sense may be that a quick slap should be tolerated (I disagree), but deprival of even one meal should not be (I agree). In that case, the guidelines would be written to *explicitly permit parents a quick slap, while adding a new explicit *restriction on their discretion to dispense meals.

That is, BTW, one legit reason why bureaucrats, with at least some general legal education, are doing this work. You must be able to envisage the field as is in the legal sense instead of just rolling with your moral instincts before you can hope to write in the desired adjustments correctly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You must be able to envisage the field as is in the legal sense instead of just rolling with your moral instincts before you can hope to write in the desired adjustments correctly.

I think it's possible to write vague rules into the law. Where I am, "reasonable chastisement" is allowed as a reason to physically punish a child (although there is a current plan to remove that clause). No definition is supplied, so it is left up to juries to decide. (Other areas of law have similarly vague clauses, such as "likely to deprave the morals of a minor", etc.)

I'm one of those that think a "quick slap" can occasionally be beneficial to a child. I'm also aware that not everyone will agree on what a "quick slap" entails or what "occasionally" means. I think less in terms of "reasonable chastisement" but more of "unwarranted provocation". If I go up to a stranger in the street and bawl in his or her face continuously about wanting an ice cream or wanting to go home and at the same time pulling the person's clothes or slapping them, I shouldn't be surprised if that stranger whacks me one. So how do we learn about about such social norms as young kids if having a tantrum to a stressed out parent doesn't elicit some kind of physical response if we don't stop after having been told to do so?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, Japan has already tried the vague rule (a.k.a. free discretion) route with that 懲戒権 without amplification formulation. Many would argue that it has led to excessive "deference" to the parent by the authorities (occasionally with fatal results) and the Diet has sided with that view, and perhaps your jurisdiction (which common law jurisdiction would that be?) is moving in a similar direction.

I'm more of the "if you've been working with your kid properly, you shouldn't be in this position" bloc, which your side would term idealistic. However, I think the most productive path to discuss today's article is not to rehash too much whether a "little" corporal punishment is occasionally acceptable. Rather, I'll just say this is the kind of scenario that should be hashed out in the guidelines. Perhaps the final decision can be 

"Parents can (in English that'll be may but Japanese legal formulations of this type tend to end with できる, so "can") use minimal force to cause a child making a public nuisance (公衆に迷惑) to desist. In no circumstance may this force lead to injury."

Without such specifics, historically Japanese agencies tend to defer to the family, and indeed a restrained approach in applying coercive measures is not necessarily dishonorable for a government agency. But it isn't working out and you have to work with the people & culture you have, so we have to try something else and hash out at least the common scenarios.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The justice ministry should consider to stop iijime as a crime. I am 60 years old and I notice that iijime seems to be a sport for bad Japanese people.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I often see mothers ignoring their tired children by walking ahead.It is obvious to see that the child is tired, needs a rest or needs to be picked up.

Where is the love?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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