Welfare authorities in 22 prefectures have been unable to confirm the whereabouts of 141 children under the age of 18 even though they were registered with municipalities, raising suspicions that some may be victims of violence, according to survey results released on Thursday.

Officials are particularly worried about 69 of the children whose disappearance could be linked to child abuse or other forms of domestic violence, including four infants whose cases were given high-alert status, according to the first ever survey of its kind in Japan.

The rest of the cases involve foreigner households who left Japan but apparently failed to notify local authorities, the survey found.