The number of child abuse cases in which the Japanese police took action in the first half of 2015 rose to a record 376, with more than 80 percent involving violent assault, a police survey showed Thursday.

Of those cases, eight led to the death of the victims. The release of the semiannual survey comes at a time when child abuse has become a more openly discussed social issue, with the arrest of relatives, often parents, frequently being reported.

In February alone, a 36-year-old mother in Chiba Prefecture was arrested on suspicion of killing her daughters aged 1 and 4, citing "fatigue" over child-rearing, while a 36-year-old father in Osaka was arrested on suspicion of killing his 6-month-old son.