Record 37,000 chil­dren sus­pected to have suf­fered abuse in Ja­pan

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - World -

JA­PANESE po­lice re­ferred to child wel­fare au­thor­i­ties a record-high 37,113 sus­pected vic­tims of child abuse in the first half of this year, a re­port re­leased Thurs­day showed.

The pre­lim­i­nary fig­ure marks an in­crease of 6,851 chil­dren aged 17 or younger be­ing af­fected, as com­pared to the same pe­riod last year, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Po­lice Agency.

The agency be­lieves the fig­ures do not nec­es­sar­ily in­di­cate there is an in­crease in abuse, gen­er­ally, but rather that peo­ple are re­port­ing more sus­pected cases to au­thor­i­ties amid height­ened pub­lic aware­ness.

Po­lice say the in­creased re­port­ing has al­lowed them to in­ter­vene in po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions ear­lier.

The prob­lem came into stark re­lief in March when Yua Fu­nato, 5, died in Tokyo af­ter be­ing beaten and ne­glected by her par­ents. The girl had re­port­edly begged her par­ents to stop their mis­treat­ment.

The case sent shock­waves through Ja­panese so­ci­ety when it was re­vealed Fu­nato had recorded mes­sages plead­ing for for­give­ness in a note­book, all while her par­ents al­legedly un­der­fed her in order to keep the young girl “slim like a model.”

The girl was also al­legedly wo­ken at 4 a.m. ev­ery day to prac­tice writ­ing and to carry out other tasks.

Fol­low­ing her death, the gov­ern­ment compiled emer­gency mea­sures to tackle child abuse, in­clud­ing a plan to em­ploy an ad­di­tional 2,000 child wel­fare staff na­tion­wide by fis­cal 2022, up from the 3,253 em­ployed as of April last year.

“I un­der­stand that abuse leaves a se­ri­ous im­pact on chil­dren’s mind and body,” said Junzo Ya­mamoto, the new head of the Na­tional Pub­lic Safety Com­mis­sion, at a press con­fer­ence, adding he in­tends to in­struct po­lice to pro­mote mea­sures to help abused chil­dren na­tion­wide.

The lat­est re­port showed po­lice also re­moved 2,127 chil­dren from their homes in the six months through June, deem­ing that their lives had been threat­ened, while for­ward­ing to gov­ern­ment child con­sul­ta­tion cen­ters 14,869 abuse re­ports that they could not im­me­di­ately con­firm, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

Of the 37,113 to­tal mi­nors af­fected, roughly 70 per­cent, or 26,415, were sus­pected of hav­ing been sub­ject to psy­cho­log­i­cal abuse, in­clud­ing 16,869 who had per­son­ally wit­nessed do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. Kyodo

A to­tal of 6,792 vic­tims were sus­pected to have suf­fered phys­i­cal abuse, 3,795 ne­glect, and 111 were thought to have been raped or forced into some other form of vi­o­lent sex­ual ac­tiv­ity, the re­port showed.

The num­ber of child pornog­ra­phy cases han­dled by po­lice rose to a record high 1,423 in the first half of 2018, up 281, with the num­ber of cases of pos­ses­sion of il­le­gal ma­te­ri­als grow­ing and cases of peo­ple al­legedly mak­ing ex­plicit con­tent in­volv­ing chil­dren re­duc­ing.

The num­ber of child porn pos­ses­sion cases stood at 393, surg­ing from 31 the pre­vi­ous year, af­ter po­lice ob­tained a list of some 7,000 peo­ple who pur­chased child porn DVDS last year, while cases in­volv­ing peo­ple mak­ing child porn fell 38 to 686.

Some 615 chil­dren were vic­tim­ized in child pornog­ra­phy cases in to­tal, up 21, with high school stu­dents 38.0 per­cent of the to­tal, fol­lowed by 34.5 per­cent ju­nior high school stu­dents and 22.4 per­cent el­e­men­tary school stu­dents, ac­cord­ing to the agency.

Cases of vic­tims be­ing lured into tak­ing and send­ing nude im­ages of them­selves us­ing mo­bile phones were most com­mon at 39.0 per­cent, fol­lowed by hid­den cam­eras film­ing vic­tims at 25.4 per­cent and child pros­ti­tu­tion at 15.0 per­cent.

About 90 per­cent of vic­tims of nude im­age-shar­ing were high school stu­dents and ju­nior high school stu­dents, it showed. – Kyodo

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