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The central government is taking emergency steps to boost the number of child welfare workers by 60 percent within five years, spurred by the death of a child whose handwritten notes seeking forgiveness from her abusive parents have shaken Japan.

The death in March of the 5-year-old girl, Yua Funato, was “soul-crushing,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said of the case that has exposed shortcomings in child welfare services long targeted by critics.

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