Japan reported 207,659 child abuse cases in fiscal 2021, up 2,615 from the previous year and setting a new record for the 31st consecutive year, government data showed Friday.

The health ministry's preliminary data showed psychological abuse, including physically abusing family members in front of children, accounted for about 60 percent of cases in which child consultation centers across the country took action.

"The rate of increase has slowed but we need to continue monitoring the situation," a health ministry official said, adding gauging the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the data is difficult as related factors have both aggravated and improved the situation.

In June, Japan revised its Child Welfare Law to enhance measures against child abuse and support childrearing households, and it is now moved into an implement phase.

By type of abuse, psychological abuse accounted for the largest proportion of 60.1 percent, or 124,722 cases, followed by physical abuse at 23.7 percent, or 49,238 cases. Neglect stood at 15.1 percent, or 31,452 cases, and sexual abuse was 1.1 percent, or 2,247 cases, according to the data.

The number of psychological abuse cases rose 3,388 from the previous year, while that of physical abuse cases was down 797 cases.

About half of the total, or 103,104 cases, were brought to child consultation centers by police, while 28,075 cases were reported by neighbors and acquaintances and 17,344 cases by family.

The number of referrals by police had been increasing in recent years as the centers and the police ramped up coordination, but the latest data showed it fell 521 cases from the previous year.

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