Japan Catholic Church Launches Child Abuse Investigation Ahead Of Pope Visit
The decision follows the landmark summit at the Vatican in the protection of minors
The Catholic church in Japan announced it would launch an internal probe into child abuse claims against its clergy following the global wave pedophilia revelations.
Sixteen dioceses in Japan are being investigated by the standing committee of the bishops' conference, according to a spokesman for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan.
Around 450,000 Roman Catholics are in Japan.
The decision follows the landmark summit at the Vatican in the protection of minors, was Francis promised to tackle child abuse.
According to Channel News Asia:
It also comes ahead of Francis's planned visit to Japan in November, the first visit by a pontiff since John Paul II, nearly 40 years ago.
At least five reports of sexual abuse were made when the Japanese Catholic authorities conducted surveys in 2002 and 2012 throughout its dioceses.
The fresh probe will first review how bishops dealt with those cases, including "punishment of those who were involved, and response to victims," the spokesman said.
Details of the investigation "including the specific process and to what extent the result will be made public" will be decided later, he said.
A second stage of the probe is planned to investigate additional abuse allegations.
The probe was announced as a group of people who claim abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy met in Tokyo on Sunday, among them a 62-year-old man who reported being sexually abused as a child at a Catholic boys' school in western Tokyo.
The Mainichi Shimbun daily said Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami of Nagasaki attended the Sunday gathering and told the man he felt "sorry for having been unable to do enough" to uncover and resolve abuse.
Local media has previously reported allegations of abuse at a different Catholic school in Tokyo, and the scale of the problem nationwide remains unclear.
A slew of abuse scandals involving the church has spanned the globe, from Australia to Chile and the United States.
In February, Pope Francis marked clergy who abuse children as the 'tools of Satan' and vowed they would face the 'the wrath of God' as he compared their actions to human sacrifice.
The Pontiff made the statements just a day after one of the Catholic Church’s most notable Cardinals admitted child abuse files were 'destroyed.'
Francis made the remarks during his speech in the Vatican City which concluded his summit on preventing clergy sex abuse.
Although Francis vowed to put an end to child abuse cover-ups in the Catholic church, he accused critics of Catholic Church as "friends and relatives of the Devil" on Friday, causing outrage among victims of clerical abuse.