Child Protection Laws in Japan

Child Welfare Act 1947 (rev. 2016)

Article 1.

  1. All citizens shall endeavor to ensure that children are born and brought up in good mental and physical health.

  2. All children shall equally be afforded the guaranteed level of life and be kindly treated.



Article 1.

Child abuse is a grievous infringement on the rights of children, which can have serious effects on their mental and physical growth and character formation.

Article 2.

In this law, "child abuse" shall mean one or another of the following acts done to a child (a person under 18 years of age, both here and hereinafter), by a guardian (a person exerting parental authority or another person acting as caretaker of a minor having actual custody of the child; the same shall apply hereinafter):

  1. Physical abuse resulting in bodily injury to a child, or violent acts deemed to result in such injury. It is stipulated that parental authority shall not inflict disciplinary actions to an extent that exceeds the levels necessary for custody and education.

  2. Coercion of any child by a parent or a caregiver to engage in, or assist another person to engage in, any sexually explicit conduct with a child.

  3. Preventing the normal physical and mental development of a child through neglect by markedly reducing nutrition, abandonment for over long periods, failure to prevent acts by a person living with the child other than the parent as described in the previous Item 2 or the following item, and seriously neglecting care as a guardian.

  4. Strong verbal abuse or an attitude of rejection toward the child, or violent words and actions directed against a spouse living in the child's household (illegal physical aggression against the spouse ("spouse" also refers to people living in a marital relationship for all practical purposes, even though a marriage has not been registered) that is injurious to life or body, or corresponding words or actions that cause psychological damage) that cause severe psychological trauma in the child.


Japanese Civil Code

Article 1.

67) The Law for Punishing Acts Related to Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, and for Protecting of Children, which took effect in November 1999, the law defines "child" as anyone under 18 years of age and punishes such acts as engaging in child prostitution, producing child pornography for the purpose of sale, etc.