Child abuse is on the rise in Japan. Child consultation centers nationwide were contacted in a record 42,662 cases of child abuse in fiscal 2008, 2,023 more cases than in fiscal 2007, which saw the caseload top 40,000 for the first time. The number has been rising for 18 straight years — since statistics were first taken in 1990.

The health and welfare ministry thinks that the revised Child Abuse Prevention Law, which went into effect in April 2008, has helped to make more people aware of child abuse and more willing to report suspicions to child consultation centers. But this should not deflect attention from the fact that child abuse is increasing while measures to prevent it have been lagging.

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