TOKYO: Following recent cases of child abuse that led to deaths, parents and guardians in Tokyo will soon be banned from physically punishing and verbally abusing children, Japanese news outlets reported on Wednesday (Feb 13) citing the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
According to The Japan Times, an ordinance will be introduced to ban physical punishments, as well as other actions that inflict physical and mental suffering on children. Pregnant women, as well as children, are urged to go through medical checkups as well.
The ordinance also requires child welfare centres to share information with other centres regarding ongoing cases, depending on the urgency of each case, stating that the Tokyo government aims to create an environment where suspected abuse cases can be reported without hesitation.
Out of Japan's 47 prefectures, nine already have ordinances on child abuse prevention, said Japan Today.
According to Japan Today, despite it being referred to as a ban, there are no punitive clauses in the ordinance which will be submitted during a regular meeting of the metropolitan assembly in end-February, with the aim of implementing it in April.
The Tokyo government made the decision to compile the ordinance after high-profile abuse deaths in the past two years.
On Feb 7, Kyodo news reported that the number of child abuse victims hit a record high of more than 80,104 in 2018.
READ: Japan beefs up child welfare measures after 'soul-crushing' abuse death
In March 2018, five-year-old Yua Funato died weighing only 12kg after continued abuse from her parents. They were charged over the death, which police said was due to pneumonia-induced blood poisoning caused by malnutrition.
In January this year, 10-year-old Mia Kurihara was found dead in the bathroom of her home in Chiba. Her parents have been arrested on suspicion of assaulting their daughter after her father reportedly abused her regularly and refused to allow her to go to school.
In both instances, the children were taken into protection, only to be returned to their parents, highlighting shortcomings in Japan's child welfare services and welfare workers' failure to identify and tackle risks that such abused children face.