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Child abuse response guidelines for educators created after death of 10-yr-old girl

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology is seen in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on July 26, 2018. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- The education ministry created a child maltreatment response manual for school and education board officials on May 9, in response to the death of a primary school girl in Chiba Prefecture from parental abuse.

Taking into account the lessons learned from Mia Kurihara's case, the guidelines specify that depending on circumstances, educators can deny access to child maltreatment records even if parents and guardians request the documents' release on behalf of the child.

This kind of appropriate response is demanded in the manual, set to be published via the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's official website.

Mia, 10 at the time, was found dead at her home in Noda, east of Tokyo, on Jan. 24 this year. Mia's father Yuichiro had demanded the school let him see a questionnaire, in which the girl wrote she was being assaulted, or he would "file a suit." A representative of the Noda Municipal Board of Education handed over a copy of the survey to Yuichiro who had a letter of consent from Mia, which she was forced to write.

The guidelines require educators to respond firmly to guardians who show an overbearing attitude, by complaining that the school notified a child consultation center, when the child is taken into temporary custody. It emphasizes that even if the notification is inaccurate, institutions will not be liable for penal or civil responsibility in principle.

Furthermore, the manual reaffirms that schools promptly provide information to consultation centers and other facilities on children subjected to alleged abuse, if they are absent for seven days or more. A list of indicators is also included so that child maltreatment can be identified during a student's school life.

(Japanese original by Kenichi Mito, City News Department)

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