Survey finds 345 cases of inappropriate childcare in fiscal 2019

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry / The Environment Ministry In Chiyoda ward, Tokyo.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry conducted a survey regarding child abuse and inappropriate childcare practices at nurseries in December 2020, as part of a research project.

In the survey, the ministry identified five inappropriate childcare practices: 1) not respecting the personality of each child; 2) forcing children to do things or using threatening language; 3) punishing children or interacting with them in an abusive way; 4) showing little consideration for each child’s upbringing and family environment and 5) interacting with them in a discriminatory way.

Of the 1,063 local governments that responded, 96 confirmed a total of 345 cases of such behavior in fiscal 2019. In contrast, 798 local governments said there had been no such incidents while 169 others said they “could not answer or were unaware of any such cases.”

In light of the alleged abuse against children at a private nursery school in Susono, Shizuoka Prefecture, the ministry will again survey local governments and childcare facilities across the country by the end of this year, to determine the actual conditions there and the measures they are taking.

“It’s unclear to what extent facilities will report the true state of affairs at their facilities, so it’ll be difficult to get an overall picture of the situation,” said Mikiko Muramatsu, chairperson of the national association of day nursery workers. “A multifaceted approach may be needed, such as also asking parents.”