Father used shock collar to discipline unruly children, police say

A Japanese man was arrested after allegedly using a shock collar to discipline his children when they would not do as they were told.

The 45-year-old man was arrested in the southern city of Kitakyushu on suspicion of mistreating his two stepdaughters, aged 17 and 13, and his 11-year-old son.

Reuters described the device used as a “stun gun,” while Kyodo News and The Asahi Shimbun newspapers said the man fitted his children with a type of shock collar used to discipline dogs.

An unnamed police official told Reuters the man would shock his children “when they don’t follow the rules.” The punishments left the boy with a slight burn to his arm, although there were no visible injuries to either girl.

The Asahi Shimbun named suspect Takahiro Goto and said he used to use cruel punishment for several years. Reasons for being shocked included not completing homework and helping with household chores. Goto, who police said was unemployed, allegedly forced the children to attach the shock collar to their hands or arms before using a remote control to zap them.

Kyodo News explained that the abuse came to light when the eldest daughter told a teacher in February that her father used the shock collar. The school subsequently informed a children’s counseling center, which took the three children under its protection.

The case is the latest in a string of high-profile child abuse cases that have prompted Japanese lawmakers to call for a nationwide ban on corporal punishment, Reuters reported.

Last year, 5-year-old Yua Funato died after being beaten and starved by her father as a disciplinary method. At the time of her death, Yua weighed only 27 pounds and the soles of her feet showed signs of frostbite, The Asahi Shimbun mentionned.

At the time of his death, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo said the incident was “crushing to the soul” and vowed to do more to prevent harm to children in the name of discipline.

On Tuesday, Japan’s lower house of parliament unanimously approved new penalties for parents who use corporal punishment on their children. If successful, Japan will join more than 50 countries around the world where corporal punishment of children in the home has been criminalized. Most of these countries are in Europe, although Japan becomes the second Asian country to join the group behind Mongolia and Nepal.

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