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Diet debate on abuse prevention begins

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The House of Representatives began deliberations on Friday on a bill to amend a law related to child abuse prevention, including a ban on the physical punishment of children by their parents.

The lower house started deliberations on the bill, which also includes measures to strengthen the structure of child consultation centers, at a plenary meeting. A counterproposal jointly submitted by major opposition parties, including the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, will also be discussed.

The bill stipulates that parents, heads of child welfare facilities and other people should not use physical punishment when disciplining children. It does not, however, include punitive provisions. On the disciplinary rights recognized under the Civil Code to discipline children for parenting, the bill states that the government will consider a revision two years after the legislation’s enforcement.

The bill specifies that a child consultation center’s task is to secure the safety of children. It calls for separating workers who carry out intervention measures, taking children away from households that are deemed high risk, from those who provide support for children and households, as well as allowing intervening workers to act promptly when needed.

In order for child consultation centers to make judgments based on expert knowledge, at least one doctor and one health nurse will be stationed at each center and a system will be created to enable such centers to get advice from lawyers at any time.

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