TOKYO, March 9 (Xinhua) -- A record number of suspected child abuse cases were referred to welfare centers across Japan and victims of child pornography also hit a record high in 2016, the National Police Agency (NPA) said on Thursday.
The NPA said that a record 54,227 children aged under 18 were referred to child welfare centers following suspected abuse cases.
The figure skyrocketed 46 percent from 2015 and marked the highest number of child victims since comparable data became available in 2004.
Cases of psychological abuse rose for the 12th successive year to almost 40,000, which comprised more than 60 percent of all abuse cases, the NPA said.
Police protection given to minors who had had their lives threatened totaled a record 3,521, a rise of 34.2 percent from a year earlier, said the agency.
Of the overall psychological abuse cases, some 70 percent also involved domestic violence by parents.
Physical abuse was suspected in cases involving 11,165 children, which marked a rise of 35.2 percent from a year earlier, the NPA said.
Law enforcement action was taken by the police in a record 1,081 abuse cases, jumping 31.5 percent from a year earlier. They included 866 cases of physical abuse, said the NPA.
According to the NPA, the cases involved 1,113 abusers and 1,108 victims and, of the cases, 67 of the abused children died.
Victims of child pornography, meanwhile, increased 45.1 percent from a year earlier, with a total of 2,097 cases investigated in 2016, marking a rise of 8.2 percent.
Cases involving a perpetrator comprised 1,531 of that number, a rise of 3.2 percent and marked the highest since comparable data became available.
Children who were tricked or coerced into being photographed naked comprised 36.6 percent of the total victims, while 32.4 percent were photographed by spy cameras, the NPA said.
Victims of child prostitution and other obscene acts totaled 14.2 percent of the total cases, the police agency said.
The agency also said that some 80 percent of the victims involved took their own pictures not knowing the criminals and more than 70 percent had first met the criminals through social media sites.