• Kyodo

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Family courts suspended parental custody of children in 83 cases last year to prevent child abuse, the highest number since the suspension rule took effect in 2012, a Supreme Court tally has shown.

Some 34 cases involved negligence in providing basic child care, while 15 involved physical abuse, 13 psychological abuse and five sexual abuse, according to the figures released Friday.

There were 58 cases involving birth mothers and 31 involving birth fathers, with those figures including cases that affected both parents.

The revised Civil Code, which came into effect in April 2012, enables family courts to suspend child custody for up to two years at the request of children themselves, their relatives, child consultation center chiefs or prosecutors.

The suspension rule was added to the Civil Code in hopes of helping mend parent-child relationships. The law previously only allowed courts to strip parents of custody of children indefinitely, a provision that critics say did not work to the benefit of children.

A court official attributed last year’s rise in suspensions to an increase in requests filed by heads of child counseling centers. There were 74 such requests last year, compared with 10 in 2012.

According to the Supreme Court, the number of court-ordered child custody suspensions has risen from 14 cases in 2012 to 63 in 2013, 40 in 2014, and 58 in 2015.

The number of cases in which parents were indefinitely stripped of child custody totaled 17 in 2012, 25 in 2013, 32 in 2014, 21 in 2015 and 25 in 2016.

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