The number of child abuse cases handled by child consultation centers across Japan from January to March grew 10 to 20 percent year on year each month, according to a welfare ministry survey.
The survey was conducted in response to concerns that child abuse may increase as many people refrain from going out and schools are shut due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Still, the ministry is not sure whether the increase in child abuse cases has anything to do with restraints on going out, officials said.
The number of child abuse consultations provided in January stood at 14,974, up 22 percent from a year before. The number totaled 14,997 in February, up 11 percent, and 22,503 in March, up 12 percent.
By prefecture, the highest monthly number was recorded by Osaka in March at 3,025, against 2,631 a year before, followed by 2,908 in Tokyo in March, compared with 2,177 a year before.
The ministry called on local governments to strengthen community support for children in need of help.