【Aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan】No.153: Child abuse is increasing rapidly

In this column series, Yukihiro Matsuyama, Research Director at CIGS introduces the latest information about aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan with data of international comparison.

In Japan, the law to prevent child abuse went into effect in 2004. However, the number of instances of child abuse continues to increase, and deaths of abused children are often reported, which is a significant social problem (see Column No.82).

As of October 2018, municipalities have established 212 child consultation centers nationwide, which are specialized institutions for child welfare. They accept consultations on cases of child abuse from schools, the police, medical institutions, local residents, and so on, and offer guidance and make decisions on measures to protect the child. As shown in Figure 1, the number of consultations continues to increase rapidly.

A further serious problem is that when a municipality tries to set up a child consultation center, it often faces resistance from local residents, who argue that the establishment of such centers leads to a deterioration of the living environment and erodes the real estate value. I have no choice but to conclude that society has lost its awareness regarding its responsibility toward protecting children.

Figure 1: Number of consultations handled by child consultation centers

Source: Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare

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