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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 June 19 - 25  > Bills to prevent child abuse unanimously enacted
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2019 June 19 - 25 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Bills to prevent child abuse unanimously enacted

June 20, 2019

Bills to step up measures to prevent child abuse was unanimously passed in the House of Councilors plenary meeting and enacted on June 19.

Prior to the vote, Japanese Communist Party Upper House member Kurabayashi Akiko took the rostrum and expressed support for the bills by saying that it is highly significant that a legal ban on physical punishment against children was finally introduced.

Kurabayashi demanded that the Welfare Ministry in its guidelines which will be compiled in response to the bills’ enactment explicitly prohibit corporal punishment and other degrading forms of punishment in all situations at the level called for by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. She also demanded an early abolition of the Civil Code’s provisions stipulating the right to discipline as they are often used to justify physical punishment.

Kurabayashi urged the government to increase financial support for municipalities in order to increase the number of skilled staff at child welfare centers and temporary shelters for abused children and to improve their working conditions.

In addition, Kurabayashi said that the national and local governments should establish a system to support young people who grew up in child welfare facilities. Noting that child abuse problems have much to do with the problems of women’s poverty and domestic violence, the JCP lawmaker said that municipal governments should employ workers specialized in helping struggling women and that the national government provide funds to local governments to this effect.

Kurabayashi said that during the Diet discussions on the bills, the importance of surveillance to prevent child abuse was emphasized. She said, “Child abuse should not be deemed as a problem of an individual family. It is important to change the current conditions of the society where many people suffer from unstable employment, poverty and increasing economic gaps, and lack of social ties.”

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