Father arrested in Japan for using 'stun gun' used on pets to discipline children

TOKYO (REUTERS) - A Japanese man was arrested on Wednesday (May 29) for using a 'stun gun' to discipline his three children, police said, the latest in a series of child-abuse cases that have prompted legislators to seek a ban on corporal punishment.

The 45-year-old man in the southern city of Kitakyushu told police he used a 'stun gun' used on pets on his two daughters, aged 17 and 13, and 11-year-old son "when they didn't follow the rules", a police official told Reuters.

According to Mainichi newspaper, the stun gun is a shock collar designed to be put around a dog's neck and operated by remote control to discourage the dog from barking too much.

The abuse of the man's eldest daughter through electrical shocks is believed to have started when she was about five, Mainichi reported.

On some occasions, his children were apparently shocked several times a day on the grounds that they were not following the house rules.

The boy suffered a minor burn on his arm, the police official said. There were no visible injuries on the girls.

A series of high-profile child abuse cases in recent years has shaken Japan, including the death last year of a five-year-old girl, Yua Funato, whose father beat and starved her in the name of discipline.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at the time that her death was"soul-crushing", and he promised steps to prevent more deaths.

Legislators in the powerful Lower House of Parliament on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan to ban corporal punishment of children by their parents, paving the way for passage of a revised law during the current session.

More than 50 countries - mostly in Europe - have laws prohibiting corporal punishment of children in the home, which some researchers say is an ineffective form of discipline.

Japan would be the third country in Asia to institute such a ban after Mongolia in 2016 and Nepal two years later.

The child abuse case is the latest incident involving children that has shocked Japan.

On Tuesday, a knife-wielding man slashed at a group of schoolgirls at a bus stop in Kawasaki city, killing one girl and an adult who may have been the father of one child.

Sixteen other children between the ages of six and 12, and a woman, were wounded in the attack by a middle-aged man, who died later of a self-inflicted wound, broadcaster NHK said, citing police.

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