A Japanese news agency reported on Thursday that an investigation by the country’s bishops’ conference has found 16 cases of sexual abuse of minors by clerics, which occurred from the 1950s to 2010s.
The findings have not yet been made public, but sources familiar with the matter spoke with Kyodo News on April 2.
Acts of abuse occurred in rectories, church buildings, and foster homes.
The Japanese bishops announced the inquiry a year ago, and committees were established in each of the 16 dioceses to receive claims and consultations about abuse.
In 2002 an internal survey made inquiries with the leading priest in each diocese. This resulted in two reported cases of sex abuse.
A 2012 survey aimed to be a reference point in a manual for internal use. It did not aim to investigate facts or to resolve sex abuse. Five sex abuse cases were reported then.
A 2004 survey on sexual harassment found 17 cases of “coercive physical contacts,” mostly by priests. The victims included minors. That survey had 110 respondents.
In February 2019 Pope Francis held a meeting with bishops from around the world on the sexual abuse of minors.
“Let it be clear that before these abominations the Church will spare no effort to do all that is necessary to bring to justice whosoever has committed such crimes. The Church will never seek to hush up or not take seriously any case,” he said in his 2018 Christmas greetings to the Roman curia.