Jul 20, 2018
TOKYO - The Japanese government on Friday decided to boost the number of child welfare staff to better tackle abuse following the recent death of a 5-year-old girl who had desperately begged her parents to stop mistreating her.
In emergency measures finalized at a ministerial meeting Friday, the government decided on a 1.6-fold increase in the number of child welfare personnel by fiscal 2022 from 3,253 nationwide as of April last year. Such staffers offer consultation and support to children and parents.
The government also mandated that welfare staff be permitted in-home access within 48 hours after receiving reports of abuse or neglect. Police can be enlisted to support them if necessary.
The government will urge municipalities to compile data on children such as those who did not attend kindergarten by the end of September.
The move comes after the March death of Yua Funato of Tokyo which shocked the public after the extent of abuse by her mother and stepfather came to light following their arrest.
Yudai Funato (L), Yuri Funato (R)
The couple were arrested and indicted in June over neglect that led to the girl's death from sepsis caused by pneumonia. Yua weighed only 12 kilograms when she was found dead, compared with the average weight for her age of 20 kg.
The girl had begged her parents to stop their violent and abusive behavior by writing pleas in a notebook and memos that police found at their home.
The girl's mother refused to let welfare staff into their home.
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