A 4-year-old girl who died after a suspected assault case in Kagoshima Prefecture in southwestern Japan was often seen walking alone and uncared for on the streets long before her death.
Shun Hiwatashi, boyfriend of Riara Otsuka's mother, was arrested on suspicion of hitting the girl in the head last week. The 21-year-old construction worker lived with the mother and the girl in the city of Izumi.
New government figures show child consultation centers across Japan handled a record number of child abuse cases last fiscal year, which ended in March.
Officials of the welfare ministry say the number of reported cases was 159,850 -- an increase of about 26,000 from the previous year. The statistics cover children under 18.
May 5 is Children's Day in Japan. But the number of children in the country has declined for 38 straight years since 1982, and is now at an all-time-low.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs says the number of children under 15 years old totaled 15.33 million as of April 1 -- 7.85 million boys and 7.48 million girls.
A Japanese non-profit organization says it has received twice the usual number of email inquiries in relation to child abuse since police said domestic abuse is suspected in the death of a girl in Chiba Prefecture.
Child Abuse Prevention Network Aichi, or CAPNA, has been receiving an average of more than seven inquiries a day since police arrested the father of 10-year-old Mia Kurihara last month.
The number of criminal offenses in Japan has fallen to a new low, but child abuse and domestic violence are at record highs.
The National Police Agency said on Thursday that it confirmed more than 817,000 criminal offenses last year -- a decline of 10.7 percent. The figure has fallen for the 16th year in a row, and is the lowest since record-keeping began in 1946.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he will call a meeting of relevant cabinet ministers on Friday over the death of a ten-year-old girl who was apparently abused by her parents.
The girl was found dead at her home near Tokyo in January. Police have arrested her parents on suspicion of inflicting injuries.
Officials at a child welfare center near Tokyo say they do not know when a 10-year-old girl who was temporarily in their care returned to her parents' home where she was fatally abused.
Mia Kurihara was found dead at her home in Noda City, Chiba Prefecture, in late January. Her parents have been arrested on suspicion of inflicting injuries.
The prefecture's child welfare center has been criticized for its handling of the case.
The father of a ten-year-old girl who died after suspected domestic violence had submitted to a child welfare center a letter in which the daughter said she had lied about being abused by her father.
Mia Kurihara was found dead at her home in Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo, last month. Police arrested her parents on suspicion of inflicting injuries that led to Mia's death.