A 45-year-old man was arrested Wednesday for the alleged use of a shock collar to discipline his three children, police said, the latest in a series of child abuse cases that have prompted legislators to seek a ban on corporal punishment.
Takahiro Goto in the city of Kitakyushu told police he used a shock collar on his two daughters, aged 17 and 13, and 12-year-old son “when they didn’t follow the rules,” police said.
Police officials said the suspect ordered his children to place a shock collar, used to train pets, on their bodies and controlled it remotely.
The boy suffered a minor burn on his arm and there were no visible injuries on the girls, a police official said.
The case surfaced after the elder daughter told her vocational school teacher in February that she has been abused by her father via a shock collar, according to police. The school then reported the statement to a child consultation center and the center took the children under its protection.
A series of high-profile child abuse cases in recent years has shaken Japan, including the death last year of a 5-year-old girl, Yua Funato, whose father allegedly beat and starved her in the name of discipline.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at the time her death was “soul crushing” and he promised steps to prevent more deaths.
Legislators in the Lower House on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan to ban corporal punishment of children by their parents, paving the way for passage of a revised law during the current session.
More than 50 countries — mostly in Europe — have laws prohibiting corporal punishment of children in the home, which some researchers say is an ineffective form of discipline.
Japan would be the third country in Asia to institute such a ban after Mongolia in 2016 and Nepal two years later.