Forcing children to sit 'seiza' style to be recognized as punishment under new law
Japan Today -- Dec 04
A welfare ministry panel said Tuesday that forcing children to sit extensively in the formal Japanese style known as seiza will be recognized as a morally unacceptable form of punishment under a new law that will enter into force next April.

The panel has been compiling guidelines following revision of the child abuse prevention law in June in response to a number of fatal cases in which parents or guardians physically abused children in the process of disciplining them.

The seiza style -- in which a person kneels on the floor and sits back resting their buttocks on their heels with the tops of their feet flat on the floor -- is a traditional way of sitting on Japanese tatami mats, often practiced at formal ceremonies or when visiting temples, but it can be painful if continued for too long.

Under the new guidelines "punishments that inflict bodily pain or cause uneasiness" will be discouraged, regardless of how light they are or whether the parents believe them to be disciplinary.

Along with enforcing seiza for a long time, the guidelines also list beating or bottom spanking for such reasons as children failing to do homework as unacceptable punishments.

親による子どもへの「体罰」について、厚生労働省は長時間、正座させるなど「体に苦痛や不快感を引き起こす行為」と定義付ける案を有識者会議に示しました。  来年4月に施行される改正児童虐待防止法では、親から子どもへの体罰が禁止されます。厚労省は体罰の定義について示したガイドラインを作ることにしていて、3日の有識者会議で「長時間、正座をさせる」や「夕食を与えない」「頬をたたく」など5つの例を盛り込んだ案を示しました。しつけとの違いを明確にしていて、「体に苦痛や不快感を引き起こす行為はどんなに軽くても体罰」であるとしています。体罰の定義を厚労省が示したのは初めてで、会議では大筋で了承されました。厚労省は来月にかけてこの指針案を公表して意見を募集し、年度内の策定を目指しています。
News sources: Japan Today, ANNnewsCH
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