BioScience Trends. 2014;8(4):240-241. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2014.01064)

Japan's emerging challenge for child abuse: System coordination for early prevention of child abuse is needed.

Takahashi K, Kanda H, Sugaya N


At the end of 2013, a Japanese newspaper reported that 4,173 children were unidentified or missing in Japan. The article concluded that child abuse was a matter of national concern. In examining the strengths and weaknesses of Japan's welfare system in regard to child abuse, it would seem that a weakness exists with regard to its ambiguity on the roles of different officers who contact suspected cases. Although three types of officer (health, welfare, and police officers) can take charge, child abuse cases might be missed because the division of labor varies between the different types of officer. However, a strength exists in the periodical pediatric health check system that is in place in each of Japan’s 1,742 municipalities. To efficiently implement early intervention for child abuse, it is necessary to rearrange the division of labor among the three types of officers to clarify who should intervene in suspected cases.

KEYWORDS: Child abuse, Japan, pediatric health checks

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