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Guidance-center setup needs big changes to save abused children

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A bill to amend the Child Welfare Law and other legislation to strengthen measures against child abuse has been submitted to the Diet.

The amended law will explicitly state that parents should not inflict corporal punishment on their children. Although that could be called an improvement, many obstacles remain for strengthening the institutional setup of child guidance centers, which will be indispensable for the prevention of child abuse.

The Diet should hold in-depth discussions on what should be done to save children’s lives, and the results of the talks should be reflected in future measures.

The welfare ministry will work out guidelines in the coming months, including what constitutes corporal punishment.

Under the plan, parents’ right to discipline their children, which is stipulated in the Civil Law, will hopefully be reviewed two years after the amended law takes effect.

No penalty is envisaged for the prospective ban on corporal punishment. But if it becomes socially understood that physical violence........

© The Asahi Shimbun