TOKYO: The abuse of disabled people has emerged as a major problem in Japan with the violence most often inflicted by family members or domestic caregivers, according to a government survey.
The nationwide report, the first of its kind, found 1,699 confirmed cases of physically or mentally disabled people being abused over a six-month period.
Nearly 80 percent of the victims were abused by relatives or domestic caregivers, it said.
The incidents included physical abuse, verbal attacks, neglect and embezzling funds, said the welfare ministry survey published on Monday.
The study, carried out after legislation to prevent such abuses went into force last year, found other victims were abused by welfare facility staff or in the workplace.
A ministry official said the figures could just be the tip of the iceberg, with many victims unwilling or unable to seek help.
“Some people may not be able to speak out due to fears they might be kicked out of the facility they live in, or that they might lose their jobs,” the official said.
Public broadcaster NHK has reported on the case of a 77-year-old man in a nursing home who suffered more than 70 separate injuries, including a broken nose and arm, during a 13-year-period.
He was unable to report the abuse to visiting relatives due to a brain injury suffered in a traffic accident.
Authorities are investigating the facility in southern Japan.