Japan witnessed a record 2,170 child abuse cases in 2021, with the figure rising 1.7 per cent from a year earlier, as the Covid-19 pandemic restricted the ability of welfare protection officials to safeguard vulnerable minors, the National Police Agency (NPA) said on Thursday.
Nationwide, children under the age 18 believed to have been abused and referred to child welfare centres rose 1.0 per cent from a year earlier to 108,050, topping the 100,000-mark for a second-straight year, the NPA's preliminary report said.
"As the novel coronavirus pandemic is feared to reduce opportunities to watch over children, we will continue to monitor information that could lead to uncovering abuse," Xinhua news agency quoted an NPA official was quoted as saying.
The number of overall offenses in Japan in the recording period, however, hit a record low at 568,148 cases, falling for the seventh successive year, the NPA said.
While the most serious crimes such as murder and robbery fell 1.3 per cent to 8,823, cases of kidnapping jumped 15.4 per cent to 389 incidents, the report showed.
The NPA also said that there were a record 83,035 consultations on domestic violence, with reports of stalking, including those of minors online, remaining comparatively high at almost 20,000 consultations.
In addition, the report showed that cases of cybercrime in the reporting period jumped by 24.3 percent to a record 12,275.