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Over 55% of guardians in Japan have hit their children as punishment: survey

Megumi Nishizaki of nongovernmental organization Save the Children Japan, left, is seen announcing the survey results at a press conference in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on March 25, 2021. (Mainichi/Satoko Nakagawa)

TOKYO -- About 55.4% of children's guardians in Japan have hit their kids to discipline them, according to the results of an international nongovernmental organization's survey released March 25.

    Tokyo-based NGO Save the Children Japan, which confronts issues including child abuse, did the survey in response to the April 2020 enforcement of revisions to the Act on the Prevention, etc. of Child Abuse, which bans corporal punishment against children by individuals in parental authority or others.

    In January it asked 1,000 guardians raising children if they used physical punishment and other behaviors. Although the results were lower than the previous 2017 survey, when 70.1% said they have hit their children, it showed corporal punishment remains used at home.

    Aside from physical punishment, 37.1% of respondents said they yelled at their children, and 30.3% said they had glared at their kids at least once in the last three months.

    In February, the group also surveyed 344 children aged 6 to 17, a first for the group. Of the respondents, 38.7% said they have been punished physically before. Looked at by age group, the data showed children tended to tolerate corporal punishment more as they got older.

    Megumi Nishizaki, project officer at the domestic business department and the survey head, said, "Although some improvement was seen compared to 2017, further activities to spread awareness are needed." The group suggested the government conduct a continuous fact-finding survey that would include hearing the views of children, and enhancing child-rearing support measures and raising allocated public funds, among other measures.

    (Japanese original by Satoko Nakagawa, Lifestyle and Medical News Department)

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