• Kyodo News


The Cabinet approved bills Friday to revise two laws on parental rights amid an increase in child abuse cases, with an eye on having them clear the Diet this session.

The bills would pave the way for a system that would set a limit of up to two years for suspended parental authority and give priority to child care facility officials over parents as part of efforts to protect kids from abuse.

Cases presumed to require swift and flexible action include medical neglect involving parents who refuse to seek medical treatment when their children are sick, and parents who wrongfully take children away from shelters.

Under the current system, parents are stripped of custodial rights without a time limit, and child care workers say the law makes them hesitate to ask the courts to invalidate parental custody even in cases of suspected child abuse.

Amid concerns that suspending guardian rights for an indefinite period could jeopardize the parent-child relationship, one of the bills seeks to revise the Civil Code to impose a time limit, which would make it possible to restore the custodial rights if the situation improved.

The other bill would give heads of shelters more authority to insist on caring for abused kids even if parents resist.

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