Recent data showing that reported incidents of child abuse nationwide hit a record 103,260 cases in fiscal 2015, up 16 percent from the previous year and topping the 100,000 mark for the first time, remind us once again of the urgent need for greater efforts to protect the youngest members of our society. The government plans to improve the manpower and functions of child consultation centers to help them better handle child abuse cases and prevent tragedies.

What is also needed will be efforts to root out the causes that lie behind child abuse in this society.

The rise in the number of abuse cases handled by child consultation centers is alarming — around 1,100 cases in fiscal 1990, topping 10,000 by the end of the 1990s and shooting above 50,000 in fiscal 2010. The sharp increase in the numbers is partly explained by the fact that more cases are being exposed as social awareness of the problem grows, especially after the 2000 law aimed at preventing child abuse made it mandatory for people to notify authorities of abuse, including suspected cases.