111. Paragraph 1 of Article 818 of the Civil Code of Japan prescribes that a child who has not yet attained majority is subject to the parental power of his/her father or mother. Articles 820 and 857 of the Civil Code stipulate that a person who exercises parental power and is the guardian of a minor has the right and incurs the duties of providing for the custody and education of the child.
112. Article 24 of the Constitution prescribes essential equality of the sexes with regard to matters pertaining to the family. Article 818 of the Civil Code provides for the joint exercise of parental power by the father and mother: parents, in principle, assume joint responsibility for raising and educating a child.
113. Article 1 of the Child Welfare Law stipulates further that "All the people shall endeavor to ensure the sound birth and growth of children, both in mind and body. "Thus, parents and legal guardians must regard the best interests of the child as their basic concern.
114. The government formulated the "New Domestic Action Plan toward 2000 AD (First Revision)" in May, 1991, with the aim of creating "a society wherein women and men can participate together." The Government promotes various measures to establish an environment where both women and men can jointly participate in every corner of family and social activities, based on the philosophy of equality of sexes. The principal targets under the Action Plan are to "correct the rigid conception of dividing roles between women and men" and "promote the joint participation of women and men in the local community and family life." With regard to the former, the Government aims to correct the conventional idea that "men are for work and women are for families" which divides the roles of the sexes, and conducts public relations activities to encourage the revision of customs and habits in every social place, that is, at home, at the workplace and in the community. In relation to the latter, the Government promotes public relations activities to raise the awareness of the general public that women and men are both responsible for housekeeping, child rearing and nursing and should cooperate with each other to that end.
115. Home education by parents and legal guardians is essential for the formation of children's character. It is therefore important that they learn about home education to consider the best interests of the child and acquire the capacity to properly respond to the needs of the child according to his/her stage of growth. The Government promotes and subsidizes learning activities concerning home education as part of adult education.
(a) Home Education Classes
116. Since 1964, the Government has been subsidizing municipal authorities conducting programs that provide parents and interested persons with opportunities to learn "home education." Key subjects include the family environment, such as the role and behavior of parents as well as relationships among the family, and the social environment surrounding children, such as the growth of the child and strengthening ties with school education.
(b) Assistance Program for Fathers' Participation in Home Education
117. Since 1994, the Government has been subsidizing municipal offices holding home education seminars at companies and other workplaces to encourage the participation of fathers in home education. 41 seminars were held in 1994 throughout the country.
(c) Provision of Information on Home Education
(i) Program for Consolidating Home Education
118. There are various challenges to home education today, considering the growing worries and concerns about child rearing among parents and such problematic behavior of children as bullying. Prefectural authorities have been conducting various programs for consolidating home education. For instance, they extend programs such as training experts in home education, providing opportunities to learn about home education, supplying information concerning home education through TV, and establishing telephone consultation services. The Government has been subsidizing these activities with the aim of promoting home education from a broad perspective since 1991. Such subsidies were implemented in 46 prefectures in 1994.
(ii) Consultation Services for Families and Children
119. As part of child welfare policies, the Ministry of Health and Welfare offers counseling and assistance services to families with children at Child Guidance Centers, Family and Child Guidance Rooms and the Child Commission. The Ministry also implements "Telephone Information Service for Healthy Care," "Child and Family Counseling Service" at children's centers, and the "Healthy Rearing Counseling Program for Infants and Toddlers" at nursery schools. In 1994, the three services were revised under the "Child and Family Counseling Program" to consolidate the framework of counseling services for families and children.
(iii) Production and Distribution of Materials on Home Education
120. To serve as reference materials for persons involved in social education at prefectural and municipal levels, the Government has been regularly producing and distributing the "Modern Home Education Series," which are compiled according to different stages of growth of children. Moreover, it has been publishing the "Future Home Education Series" for parents and prospective parents since 1994. It has also been working to stimulate home education by holding the "Home Education Forum" every year since 1992, as a place for cross-generational information exchange on home education and for defining the ideal for cooperation between women and men in child rearing in the new era.
(iv) International Comparative Study on Home Education
121. In commemoration of the International Family Year in 1994, the Government conducted surveys in 6 countries, including Japan, to compare and contrast family and household trends, the existing state of home education, and the level of awareness of parents, exposing the distinctiveness and challenges in home education in contemporary Japan.
122. As for child rearing, there are various assistance programs provided in the fields of welfare, health/medical care, education and so on under: Child Welfare Law; Social Welfare Service Law; Child Allowance Law; Child-Rearing Allowance Law; Law related to the Payment of Special Child Rearing Allowances; Maternal and Child Health Law; Regional Health Law; Medical Service Law; and School Education Law (Refer to VI on assistance programs in the fields of welfare and medical/health care, and to VII A. on those in the field of education).
123. Paragraph 1 of Article 818 of the Civil Code provides that "a child who has not yet attained majority is subject to the parental power of its father and mother," and Article 821 thereof stipulates that "a child shall establish its place of residence in the place designated by the person who exercises parental power." As a child is obliged to reside in the place designated by his/her parents according to their will and cannot be separated from his/her parents by a third party without legal grounds, children are thus inseparable from parents.
124. In Japan, there are cases where "competent authorities... determine... that... separation is necessary for the best interests of the child" as referred to in paragraph 1 of Article 9 of the Convention, that is, cases where: the prefectural government places the child in the care and custody of a foster parent or a protective trustee, or send him/her to Child Welfare Facilities (paragraph 1-3 of Article 27 of the Child Welfare Law) as a measure against child abuse by the guardian (Article 28 of the Child Welfare Law); the Family Court designates the person in parental authority or the custodian upon the divorce of parents by agreement or trial (Article 819 of the Civil Code, etc.); the custodian of the child is to be changed (paragraph 2 of Article 766 of the Civil Code); the person in parental authority is to be changed (paragraph 6 of Article 819 of the Civil Code); the loss of parental authority on the part of the father or mother is pronounced (Article 834 of the Civil Code).
125. Under the Child Welfare Law, prefectural governments must obtain permission from a Family Court to place a child in the custody of foster parents or a protective trustee or to send him/her to Child Welfare Facilities against the will of the natural parents. The procedures are to be conducted by a Family Court according to the Law for Adjudgment of Domestic Relations and the Special Regulations on Adjudgment of Domestic Relations. In that event, the statement by the person who currently has the custody of a child and the person in parental authority (or the guardian in cases where he/she is not in parental authority), and the person in parental authority of the protected person or the guardian must be heard respectively (paragraph 1 of Article 19 of the Special Regulations on Adjudgment of Domestic Relations). The statement by the child, if 15 full years old or more, must also be heard (paragraph 2 of Article 19 of the said Regulations).
126. Designation and change of the person in parental authority and the guardian and the pronouncement of the loss of parental power are made in the Family Court pursuant to the Civil Code, the Law for Adjudgment of Domestic Relations and the Regulations on Adjudgment of Domestic Relations. The said Regulations prescribe the voluntary participation of interested persons in the event (Articles 14 and 131 of the Regulations on Adjudgment of Domestic Relations), and persons found to have an interest in the case may also participate in the procedure with permission from the Family Court. In cases where the Family Court conducts a hearing to designate or change the person in parental authority or to assign the guardian, the Court must hear the statement of the child if he/she is 15 years of age or more, under the provisions of Articles 54 and 70 of Regulations on Adjudgment of Domestic Relations.
127. Though there are no express provisions in cases where the child is below 15 years of age, the Family Court hears the statement of the child by pertinent means, such as ordering ex officio the investigator of the Family Court to inquire into the case (Article 7 of the Regulations on Adjudgment of Domestic Relations). In addition, if the child makes a voluntary statement, it does not prevent the child from doing so.
The Right to Maintain Personal Relations for a Child Separated from One or Both Parents
128. A child who is separated from one or both of parents as referred to in paragraph 3 of Article 9 of the Convention may be considered, in concrete terms, as a child one or both of whose parents are, or who him/herself is detained in a Juvenile Training School, a Juvenile Classification Home, prison, immigration center or a mental hospital. Relevant laws and regulations prescribe as follows for the facilities and institutions, under which various measures are taken.
(i) In a Juvenile Training School, permission for meetings, correspondence and dispatch/receipt of parcels must be granted unless it is found to be obstructive to correctional education (Articles 52 and 55 of the Juvenile Training School Treatment Regulation).
(ii) In a Juvenile Classification Home, the child is permitted to meet relatives, guardians, attendants and other persons who are deemed necessary for the child to have a visit. Correspondence is also allowed in so far as it does not harm discipline (Articles 38 and 40 of the Juvenile Classification Home Treatment Regulation).
(iii) In a prison, the prisoners are permitted interviews and correspondence with their relatives (Articles 45 and 46 of the Prison Law).
(iv) In an immigration center, maximum freedom is guaranteed in so far as it does not pose a threat to the security of the center (paragraph 7 of Article 61 of the Immigration Control and Refugee-Recognition Law), and meetings and correspondence are basically allowed (Articles 34 and 37 of the Regulations for Treatment of Detainee).
(v) In a mental hospital, communication and meeting are in principle unrestricted (Article 37 of the Mental Health Law, the Law relating to the Welfare of Mentally Handicapped Persons, and Notification No. 130 in 1988 issued by the Ministry of Health and Welfare).
129. The following measures are taken to provide the family with essential information concerning the whereabouts of the absent member(s) of the family as referred to in paragraph 4 of Article 9 of the Convention.
(i) As for the whereabouts of a person housed in a correctional institution, he/she is made to notify relatives of his/her whereabouts by correspondence; if he/she is illiterate, the staff of the institution will write a letter in his/her place. As for the whereabouts of a person housed in a Juvenile Training School or a Juvenile Classification Home, his/her relatives are informed without delay by dispatch of notices of detention or transfer from the institution.
(ii) Upon the death of a person under detention, his/her relatives are promptly informed of the name of disease, cause of death, the date of death and other necessary information by such reasonable means as telephone, etc.
(iii) If relatives make inquiries as to whether a specific foreigner is detained in an immigration center as provided for in the Immigration-Control and Refugee-Recognition Law, their inquiries are answered after investigation.
(vi) Upon the death of a foreign person under detention in a center which is established under the provisions of the Immigration-Control and Refugee-Recognition Law, his/her family or lodger is promptly informed of the date of death, name of disease and the cause of death.
(v) If the family makes inquiries as to whether a specific foreigner has been given a deportation order, they are informed of his/her destination, time/date of deportation and the flight number of the airplane.
130. Freedom of Japanese nationals to leave and enter the country is guaranteed under paragraph 2 of Article 22 of the Constitution, which prescribes freedom to move to a foreign country. Although there is no explicit provision in the Constitution for the right to return to the country, it is interpreted that such right is guaranteed as a matter of course. The Immigration-Control and Refugee-Recognition Law merely provides for procedures to confirm Japanese nationals upon leaving from and returning to the country (Articles 60 and 61), and no provision exists which restricts departure from or reentry into Japan. Pursuant to Article 25 of the Immigration-Control and Refugee-Recognition Law, foreign persons may leave Japan in so far as the departure is confirmed by the immigration officer, and the right to leave Japan is also guaranteed for the children and parents of foreigners.
131. As provided for in the Immigration-Control and Refugee-Recognition Law, the application for entering and leaving Japan is also handled in proper ways in conformity with the provisions of paragraph 1 of Article 10 of the Convention.
132. In Japan, however, there may be cases where the issuance of ordinary passports is restricted with respect to those who are involved in crime or might injure the interests of Japan or disturb public order, etc., as prescribed in the respective subparagraphs of paragraph 1 of Article 13 of the Passport Law. Moreover, any foreigner who is prosecuted for felony or subject to arrest warrant may be temporarily prevented from leaving the country under the provisions of Article 25-2 of the Immigration-Control and Refugee-Recognition Law. The restrictions are nevertheless minimal and in conformity with paragraph 2 of Article 10 of the Convention.
133. The Japanese government opened "Immigration Information Centers" in Immigration Bureaus of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya and at the Yokohama Branch, where full-time special counselors who are fluent in foreign languages are in charge of dealing with inquiries concerning the entry and residency of foreign nationals in Japan everyday except on weekends and national holidays, on the basis of interviews and telephone consultation. At other Immigration Bureaus where Information Centers are yet to be established, counseling desks are secured for foreigners having problems with entrance and residency in Japan. The Government is thereby working to provide information for family reunification.
134. The following schemes are secured in Japan.
(a) If a child is to recover maintenance in Japan in cases where his/her parents or other persons having financial responsibility for the child live in Japan:
135. Maintenance for the child may be requested as: (i) part of marriage expenses during a matrimonial relationship; (ii) part of care-and-custody expenses for the child upon divorce; or (iii) performance of the parents' duty to raise the child.
The means to recovery, as provided for in the Law for Adjudgment of Domestic Relations, include: (i) conciliation with regard to the said issues; (ii) claim for part of marriage expenses in a contentious case; (iii) claim for maintenance in a contentious case regarding the care and custody of the child; (iv) claim for maintenance in a contentious case concerning financial support for the child; (v) collateral claims upon a divorce suit under the provision of paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the Law of Procedure in Actions Relating to Personal Status. Not to mention judgments on the approval of collateral claims in divorce suits referred to in (v), protocol recording the consent and adjudications ordering the issuance of maintenance have the same effect as a title of obligation with executory power. Therefore, maintenance may be recovered by compulsory execution if the obligor fails to perform his/her obligation voluntarily. In addition to compulsory execution mentioned above, the Law for Adjudgment of Domestic Relations establishes a framework for ensuring the obligor meets his/her domestic liabilities, under which the Family Court may recommend or order the performance of the duty as ruled by conciliation or adjudgment 9,610 domestic cases involving recommendations to meet financial obligations were settled in 1994, out of which 6,411 cases were settled with liabilities fully or partially met. In cases where an agreement is concluded with regard to the payment of maintenance, the performance of the maintenance agreement may be demanded by instituting a lawsuit.
(b) If a child is to recover maintenance in Japan in cases where his/her parents or other persons having financial responsibility for the child live in different country from the child:
136. As the case of trial on maintenance shall be handled by the Family Court exercising jurisdiction over the domicile of the adverse party (paragraph 1 of Article 94 of the Regulations on Adjudgment of Domestic Relations), the child may demand conciliation or trial on maintenance to the Family Court exercising jurisdiction over the last domicile of his/her parents, etc. If the most recent address of a child's parents in Japan does not exist or cannot be identified, the child may demand conciliation or trial on maintenance to the Family Court exercising jurisdiction over the place where the property is situated in Japan or where the Supreme Court designates. If an agreement on the maintenance for the child is concluded between parents, etc., the child may enter an action to the District Court or Summary Court exercising jurisdiction over the place of the most recent address of the parents or the place of performing the duties under the maintenance agreement. If property of parents, etc., which may be attached exist in Japan, the child may enter an action to the District Court or Summary Court exercising jurisdiction over the region where the property is situated. Moreover, if a judgment or decision has been passed by any court in Japan on the payment of maintenance, the property may be subject to compulsory execution pursuant to the judgment or decision for the child.
137. With regard to maintenance obligation, Japan concluded the Convention on the Law Applicable to Maintenance Obligation in respect of Children on July 22, 1977 and the Convention on the Law Applicable to Maintenance Obligation on June 5, 1986.
138. As provided for in the Child Welfare Law, a child without a guardian or a child whose guardian is regarded as inappropriate to take care and custody of him/her is subjected to temporary protection at the Child Guidance Center; At the same time, if necessary, the child is transferred to an infant home or a protective institution. A foster-family system is also established under the provisions of the Child Welfare Law.
(a) Infant Homes
139. Infant homes are institutions for accommodating and rearing infants less than 12 months old in need of protection. As infants generally have little resistance to illness, infant homes give due attention to medical care in the operation of facilities. Therefore, doctors and nurses are stationed, paying special attention to the health care of infants. In March 1, 1995, the number of infant homes totaled 117 and the total capacity amounted to 3,831 infants. 2,752 infants were being taken care of as of the said date.
(b) Protective Institutions
140. Protective institutions are established for the purpose of protecting children without guardians, abused children, and others in need of protection on environmental grounds, excluding infants. Recent trends show that more children who are not offered proper care even if they do have parents are entering protective institutions. Entrance of children due to the disappearance, divorce and long-term illness of parents is on the increase, in addition to those for parental neglect and child abuse (see Table 6).
|(Table 6: Children Entering Protective Institutions, by Reason)
(Source: Survey by the Ministry of Health and Welfare)
(Table 7: Number of Protective Institutions)
|*As of March 1, 1995|
|Number of institutions:||529||(public: 69, private: 460)|
|Capacity of accommodation:||33,406||(public: 4,492, private: 28,914)|
|Number of children:||26.929||(public: 2,954, private: 23,975)|
(c) Foster Parents
141. Foster parents are volunteers, with the recognition of the mayor, who wish to take care t their homes of a child who either has no guardian or whose guardian is deemed to be inappropriate to take care of the child. Although nationwide campaigns are being launched to seek for foster parents every year to promote and encourage the idea of becoming a foster parent, the number of foster parents and foster children have both been declining drastically. This has resulted from the reluctance of guardians to entrust children to other's care owing to the confusion with adoption, and from the low interest among the general public because of the common belief that one must be an extraordinary philanthropist to become a foster parent (see Table 8).
(Table 8: Annual Trends in the Number of Foster Parents and Fostered Children)
Given these facts, the Government has overcome the conventional idea that foster parents must be humanitarians, and then has been working to promote the new foster-parent system since 1987, with a view to broadly seeking for foster parents and educating the average person to become a praiseworthy foster parent.
142. The Civil Code defines two types of adoption in Japan: ordinary adoption and special adoption.
(a) Ordinary Adoption
143. Ordinary adoption creates a legal parental relation between the adoptive parents and the adopted child who acquires the status of a legitimate child. If the child to be adopted is a minor, leave from the Family Court is a requirement in principle for the adoption to be effective, excluding cases described below, and the adoption comes into effect upon the acceptance of notification. As for adoption, ex post facto remedies are secured on the basis of dissolution be action (Article 814 of the said Code) and judgment on forfeiture of the parental power (Article 834 of the said Code). The Family Court determines the case on the basis of whether adoptions is consistent with the welfare of the minor, ensuring the child's best interest thereby.
144. Leave from the Family Court is not required in cases where a person is to adopt a minor who is a lineal descendant of him/herself spouse, because such adoption normally has little risk of impairing the welfare of the child. Even in these cases, however, officers in charge of the family register may only acknowledge the adoption after examining the essential conditions for the adoption. For example, if the child to be adopted is less than 15 years of age, they examine whether the adoption is accepted by the legal representative, whether it violates other laws and regulations, whether it amounts to adoption of a minor who is a lineal descendant of the adoptive parent or his/her spouse, etc.
(b) Special Adoption
145. Special adoption is effected, if a child is, in principle, under 6 years of age at the time of request, by the Family Court's judgment made upon request from the person intending to become an adoptive parent, rather than by agreement between the adoptive parents and the adopted child. In special adoption, the family relation between the adopted child and his/her natural parents in addition to his/her blood relatives is terminated. Therefore, the special adoption is effected only if the care and custody of a child by his/her natural parents is extremely difficult or if the parents are unfit and there is an extraordinary need in the interests of the child. In addition, consent of the child's parents is also required for the special adoption to take effect, excluding cases where his/her parents can not express their views or substantial injury is inflicted upon the interests of the child to be adopted (e.g. the child is abused by his/her parents). While an ex post facto remedy for special adoption is ensured by the forfeiture of parental power (Article 834 of the Civil Code), dissolution is basically not allowed. The Family Court may, nevertheless, have the concerned parties dissolve the special adoptive relation on application of the adopted child, his/her natural parents or the prosecutor in cases where his/her parents are acknowledged to be capable of taking care of the child to a considerable extent and special need in the interest of the adopted child is recognized, due to abuse by the adoptive parents or other cause that is seriously harmful to the child ( paragraph 10 of Article 817 of the Civil Code).
(c) International Adoption
146. Japan recognizes both the adoption of foreign children by Japanese nationals and the adoption of Japanese children by foreign nationals.
(i) Adoption of Foreign Children by Japanese Nationals
147. As for substantial requirements for making an adoption effective, the Civil Code of Japan serves as the governing law. If the domestic law of the foreign adopted child's country prescribes requirements for the protection of adopted children (e.g. approval/consent of the adopted child or a third party, permission from public authorities, and other procedures), these requirements need to be satisfied (paragraph 1 of Article 20 of the Law concerning Application of Laws in General). As for formality requirements, laws of Japan serve as the governing laws (Article 22 of the said Law). Accordingly, ordinary adoption is effected upon acceptance of a notification submitted with annexed documents proving that these requirements are satisfied following the procedures prescribed by the Family Registration Law. In special adoption cases, the notification is to be submitted after the adoption is enforced by the adjudication of the Family Court.
(ii) Adoption of Japanese Children by Foreign Nationals
148. As for substantial requirements for making an adoption effective, the domestic laws of the country of the foreign adopter function as the governing laws. Nonetheless, requirements for the protection of children under the provisions of the Civil Code of Japan also need to be satisfied in that event (paragraph 1 of Article 20 of the Law concerning Application of Laws in General). With regard to formality requirements, either the law providing for the effectuation of adoption or the laws of Japan (law of the place of the act) become the governing laws (Article 22 of the Law concerning Application of Laws in General). If the laws of Japan are to be applicable, procedures prescribed by the Family Registration Law which we have referred to in (i) are to be followed.
149. The Panel Code of Japan provides for the punishment of anyone who kidnaps another by force, threat, fraud or enticement for the purpose of profit or transporting him/her out of Japan, who buys or sells another for the purpose of transporting him/her out of Japan, or who transports another out of Japan who has been kidnapped or sold. The Panel Code also prescribes punishment of anyone attempting to commit these acts, including Japanese nationals who commit such crimes abroad. Thereby, it is ensured that international adoption does not bring illegitimate financial benefits to the parties concerned. Under the provisions of the Child Welfare Law, moreover, each and every person other than a legally authorized employment agent for adults and children is prohibited from acting as a child-rearing intermediary for profit-making purposes, and anyone who violates the provisions is subject to punishment. Should the Family Court confirm that the adoption of a minor amounts to traffic in human beings, the adoption in question would not be permitted as it would obviously be injurious to the welfare of the child.
(Table 9: A Statistical Table of Adoption Cases)
(Source: Survey by the Supreme Court)
150. In Japan, a person who kidnaps a minor by force, threat, fraud or enticement, kidnaps another by the same measures for the purpose of transporting him/her out of Japan, who buys or sells another for the same purpose, or who transports another out of Japan who has been kidnapped or sold shall be punished under the provisions of Article 224 and paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 226 of the Penal Code. The Penal Code also prescribes punishment of anyone attempting to commit these acts. The provisions of subparagraph 7 of paragraph 1 of Article 34 of the Child Welfare Law prohibits acts transferring custody of a child to a person who is liable to violate any of the Penal laws and regulations, knowing such fact, or acts transferring custody of such a child to any other person, knowing that the child will be handed over to others for such purposes, and prescribes punishment on the offender thereof.
Protection of Children from Abuse, etc.
151. In Japan, the law protects children with the following actions:
Under the Child Welfare Law, a person who identifies a child whose guardian is found to be unfit to take care of the child must notify the Child Guidance Center to that effect, in cases of child abuse, etc. In cases where a guardian or tutor as a person of parental authority abuses of fails to take care of a child, or if the child's welfare is injured by placing him/her under the care and custody of the guardian, etc., the Child Guidance Center may send the child to an infant home or a protective institution. As an ex post facto measure, a prefectural governor may give orders and require a report on the protection of the child to the head of institutions. If a guardian disagrees with the child's admission to the institution, the governor may take such measures with the Family Court's approval. The Civil Code of Japan stipulates that the Family Court may adjudicate that a guardian lose parental authority if he/she abuses the parental rights. (The head of the Child Guidance Center may also claim for adjudication for the loss of such guardian's parental authority.) If there has been misconduct by the guardian, the Family Court may discharge him/her from the position of tutor.
152. If it is found that a child is assaulted or abused and there is a suspicion that his/her human rights are being violated, the civil liberties organs initiate an investigation of the matter as a case involving infringement upon human rights. If findings prove that the infringement is to be true, the organ makes the violator realize his/her fault by explaining it to the parties, with the aim of eliminating the infringement on human rights and preventing recidivism. If necessary, the civil liberties organs report the matter to Child Guidance Centers to protect the child in concert. In 1995, out of 16,296 cases involving infringement upon human rights, cases of child exploitation/abuse by parents numbered 615, whereas coercion and oppression cases amounted to 356.
153. The police give consultation to juveniles, parents and other interested persons as part of their activities to prevent juvenile delinquency and enhance child welfare. In 1995, 178 incidents of child abuse were brought to the police for consultation. If an incident of child abuse is identified through such consultation activities and other police practices, the police handle it as a case subject to law. The police endeavor to protect abused children even when the abuse cannot be handled as a formal case, by cooperating with relevant institutions: for instance, the police notify the Child Guidance Center and give temporary protection to the child upon the Center's request if it is found to be inappropriate to leave the child in the guardian's custody.
Prevention of Child Abuse, etc.
154. Recently in Japan, the environment surrounding the family has changed due to the growing prevalence of the nuclear family and the progress of urbanization. This has brought about complex problems such as weakening of the child-rearing capacity of families. Cases of child abuse by parents have been increasing rapidly, from 1,001 cases in 1990 to 1,961 cases in 1994. One of the factors causing child abuse is that parents in charge of child-rearing feel insecure and frustrated due to changes of family environment in which parents and children are becoming more detached from one another. In consideration of such trends, the following measures have been taken for the effective prevention of child abuse.
(a) Child Guidance Center (175 centers, as of 1995)
155. Every prefectural government is obliged to establish Child Guidance Centers which offer advisory services to families and other persons on various problems concerning children. For people who cannot visit, Centers make staff call at home and provide telephone-consultation services such as "dial 110 (emergency) for children and families" supported by the Experts' Team for Children and Families.
(b) Family and Children's Guidance Room (1,044 rooms, as of 1994)
156. Family and Children's Guidance Rooms are located in welfare administrative offices, which are familiar to residents. In the Rooms, family consultants and social welfare managers are posted to provide counsel/guidance services are available for various child-rearing problems in ordinary families, working to identify and instruct troubled children in earlier stages.
(c) Child Commissioner (210,000 commissioners, as of 1994)
157. Posted in every city, town and village, Commissioners work to grasp children's lives and their environmental conditions and engage in relief activities related to child protection, health, welfare and so forth.
158. As mentioned above, the number of cases of child abuse is trending upwards. Though child abuse used to be considered a private family problem, today it is recognized as a social problem which scars ordinary families. In response, "Urban In-Home Family Support Scheme" (refer to para. 17) and "Model Project for the Management of Child Abuse Cases" (refer to para. 18) have newly been adopted as steps to reinforce the protection for children. The Government intends to encourage public relations activities to raise public awareness on the issue as well as consolidate various measures to prevent child abuse.
Recovery and Rehabilitation of Abuse Children
159. Under the Child Welfare Law, Child Guidance Centers give temporary care to abused children until they return to child welfare facilities or their families. A Child Guidance Center consists of a chief child counselor, child welfare officer and a psychoanalyst in charge of providing temporary care to children. They work to protect children from abuse and exploitation by sending them to infant homes and protective institutions according to the children's conditions and family environments.
160. As principal establishments which admit children for the purpose of care, protection or treatment of his/her physical and mental health, the following child welfare facilities are available: Infant Homes, Protective Institutions, Homes for Mentally Retarded Children, Facilities for Children with Auditory/Speech Disabilities, Facilities for Physically Weak Children, Homes for Physically Handicapped Children, Facilities for Severely Handicapped Children, Short-Term Clinics for Emotionally Disturbed Children and Home for Juvenile Training and Education. Article 46 of the Child Welfare Law provides for the right of administrative agencies to demand to examine these facilities to ensure they maintain the minimum standards. In accordance with this provision, a prefectural governor is required to enter and examine these facilities generally every six months under paragraph 2 of Article 12 of the Enforcement Ordinance of the Child Welfare Facilities.