Few cases of child abuse are identified by child care agencies in Japan. Some argue that this is because the culturally specific child care and family relations in Japan make child maltreatment less likely to occur. On the other hand, there are also cultural features that might act to increase the likelihood of child abuse. Explanations for seeming differences in prevalence are discussed, along with a consideration of differences in concepts of appropriate care, child maltreatment, thresholds for case definition, and levels of public and professional awareness about child abuse. Service responses and current developments in child abuse in Japan are also briefly reviewed.