Tokyo, Aug. 27 (Jiji Press)–Child abuse cases in Japan topped 200,000 in fiscal 2020 for the first time since data started in fiscal 1990, the welfare ministry said in a preliminary report Friday.
In the year through last March, the number of abuse-related consultations handled by child consultation centers across the country grew by 11,249, or 5.8 pct, from fiscal 2019 to 205,029, continuing to rise since the start of the survey.
Some experts say child abuse cases grew due in part to impacts from the novel coronavirus pandemic. But no direct links were found from the survey, according to the ministry. “We’re not sure if there is a clear causal relation. We’ll continue to watch the situation closely,” a ministry official said.
Among the country’s 47 prefectures, Tokyo saw the largest number of child abuse cases, at 25,736, followed by Osaka, western Japan, at 24,633 cases, and Kanagawa, south of Tokyo, at 22,093 cases. Osaka topped the list in fiscal 2019.
Psychological abuse cases totaled 121,325 in fiscal 2020, up by 12,207, making up about 60 pct of the total. This reflected more reports from police to child consultation centers on children witnessing domestic violence.
Physical abuse cases stood at 50,033, up by 793.
Of the total, the number of child abuse cases reported by police to child consultation centers accounted for the largest share, followed by reports from neighbors and acquaintances, and those by family members and relatives.
The number of reports from schools, kindergartens and nurseries dropped apparently because of temporary shutdowns of schools and preschool facilities in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.