Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet members have recently submitted a bill that makes it illegal for parents to hit their children when disciplining them, as the number of child abuse cases in the country rises.
According to NHK News, the bill was submitted by the Cabinet of Japan, which consists of many high-ranking ministers including the Japanese prime minister himself, on March 19. If passed, the bill would make it illegal for parents to enact corporal punishments on their children, which includes spanking children in broader interpretations.
“In order to prevent abuse, and to detect and deal with it more quickly when it is occurring, a serious of child-protection countermeasures must be enacted,” the 64-year-old prime minister said, as translated by SoraNews24.
Aside from the prohibition of corporal punishment carried out by parents on their children, the bill also proposes the opening of additional Child Welfare Centers, requiring at least one in every city or ward with a population of over 200,000 (currently, only cities with a population of 500,000 are required to have one).
The bill, which requires a lawyer and medical staff to be deployed in these centers, will help strengthen the information-sharing protocols between police departments and child welfare services to support their ability to spot child abuse.
Other parties have voiced support of the new bill; if passed, it will take effect in April 2020.
“I want us to take all steps to eradicate child abuse, and commit ourselves to protecting children,” Abe said.