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Japan registers record high number of child abuse cases

A steady increase in reporting such crimes reflects greater public awareness on the problem, police say
A group of Japanese schoolgirls are seen in this file image. Police registered a record high number of child abuse cases in 2023

A group of Japanese schoolgirls are seen in this file image. Police registered a record high number of child abuse cases in 2023. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Published: February 15, 2024 03:03 AM GMT
Updated: February 15, 2024 04:19 AM GMT

Police in Japan reported a record high number of child abuse cases last year, according to a local media report.

Some 122,806 cases were recorded last year compared to 115,745 in 2022 — a 6.1 percent rise — the Asahi Shimbun daily newspaper reported on Feb. 13, citing National Police Agency figures.

Police said a “steady increase in reporting reflects greater public awareness and that neighbors are more willing to report suspected abuse to the authorities.” 

The abuse of minors in Japan has consistently risen since 2004, when record-keeping began, police added.

The report also highlighted the various forms of abuse suffered by children.

Psychological abuse, including domestic violence witnessed by children, accounted for more than 70 percent of the overall cases in 2023. The number of children experiencing such kind of abuse had increased by 6.8 percent to 90,761 in 2023 compared to 84,982 cases in 2022.

Physical abuse came second with a 4.2 percent increase at 21,520 cases in 2023 in comparison to 20,652 cases the previous year.

On a positive note, sexual abuse cases declined by 0.6 percent in 2023.

The report also said that cases in which parents and guardians were arrested or put under police investigation for child abuse had increased fivefold over the last 10 years.

Abuse cases involving parents and guardians stood at 2,180 in 2022, but increased by 9.4 percent to 2,385 in 2023.

Of the types of abuse children faced from parents, physical abuse took top spot with 1,903 cases followed by 372 cases of sexual abuse.

The police report also indicated an increase in the number of domestic abuse victims seeking help from the authorities for the 20th consecutive year.

Some 88,619 cases of domestic abuse were recorded in 2023 alone which resulted in 8,636 arrests or police investigations, the report said.

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