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Canadian instructor's spanking of toddler at western Japan day care uncovered on video

Kitakyushu City Hall (Mainichi/Kimiya Tanabe)

KITAKYUSHU -- An English teacher from Canada working for a day care center here smacked a toddler on the bottom among other violent acts at the facility, city officials told the Mainichi Shimbun on May 15.

The incidents emerged after a person familiar with the situation posted a video showing the abuse on social media.

In the video, the Canadian instructor is seen spanking the then 2-year-old boy and tugging his clothes at the non-registered day care center, in Kitakyushu's Kokurakita Ward in western Japan, sometime between February and March this year. The boy reportedly suffered no injuries.

The municipal government conducted a special on-site inspection at the facility and issued verbal instructions to officials on May 14.

The day care facility, which looks after children aged between 1 1/2 and 6, features English conversation lessons with native-speaking instructors.

According to the city's child care division, a local resident reported the abuse to the city in April, sparking a probe. However, the day care facility initially denied taking any inappropriate response. After a resident called again on May 13 saying a video showing the abuse had been posted on social media, the city confirmed the Canadian man's violent acts captured in the footage.

The day care center subsequently admitted to city officials that the abuse had occurred, and suspended the Canadian instructor effective May 14. The facility held a briefing session for parents and guardians that evening.

When contacted by the Mainichi on the morning of May 15, a person associated with the day care facility declined to provide details, saying, "I cannot comment as we are looking after the children right now."

A guardian whose child is enrolled at the facility commented, "The fact that the video was allowed to spread online without restraint shows a lack of consideration toward the children."

An official with the city's day care division commented, "We'll continue to give guidance to the facility and also monitor other non-registered child care centers and promote training sessions."

(Japanese original by Takuya Inoue and Hiroya Miyagi, Kyushu News Department)

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