August 1, 2019
Tokyo--Over half of fatal child abuse victims in Japan in fiscal 2017 were babies aged less than one year old, a survey by a health ministry expert panel showed Thursday.
Of 52 victims in the year through March 2018, excluding murder-suicide cases, 28, or 53.8 pct, were such young babies, according to the survey.
Unexpected pregnancies are believed to be partly behind the problem, with the mothers of 16 victims, or 30.8 pct of the total, confirmed not to have planned the pregnancy.
An aggregated tally from surveys since 2003 showed that mothers were the most frequent assailant, causing 429 of 779 child abuse deaths, or 55.1 pct.
Prenatal checkups are an important occasion for authorities to start support for families with problems. But of the fiscal 2017 victims, 16, or 30.8 pct, were children from mothers who did not take such checkups. Unexpected pregnancy apparently leads to social isolation, leaving some mothers without prenatal checkups.
The expert panel called on the government to create a system to provide seamless support to mothers from the pregnancy period. It also called on local municipalities to ensure mothers take prenatal checkups.
To make it easier for mothers who get pregnant unexpectedly to consult about pregnancy and child-rearing, the panel called for creating a consultation system using social media. Jiji Press
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