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Majority of public tolerant of physical discipline for kids: Save the Children Japan

JIJI

A majority of the public is tolerant of physical discipline for children, a recent survey by a nongovernmental organization shows.

Of 20,000 respondents 20 or older surveyed online last July, 56.7 percent had a tolerant attitude toward physical discipline, including 1.2 percent who said it should be “actively imposed,” according to the survey results released by Save the Children Japan on Thursday.

The rest of the respondents said physical punishment can be accepted “if necessary” or “when there is no other way.”

In the meantime, of the 1,030 respondents with children, 70.1 percent said they had hit them for disciplinary purposes.

“Physical punishment is banned at school, but not at home and other places,” a Save the Children Japan official said. The NGO is calling for scrapping the parental right of discipline stipulated in the Civil Code.

According to the health ministry, there are research results indicating that harsh physical punishment may shrink the region of the brain responsible for emotions by nearly 20 percent, and that verbal abuse may “distort” the region responsible for auditory function.

The survey also found that 60 percent of the 20,000 respondents think that hitting children is an acceptable form of discipline. Hitting the hips or backs of hands was even supported by 40 percent of the respondents who opposed physical discipline.

Nearly 60 percent said they would tolerate yelling at children and 50 percent said they would tolerate glaring.

Of the 1,030 respondents with children, 80 percent admitted to being irritated by children’s behavior and 60 percent said they had experienced difficulties raising them while working.