More than half of Japanese adults believe corporal punishment can be used to discipline children, a survey by Save the Children Japan showed.

The online questionnaire was conducted across Japan in July, surveying 20,000 adults of 20 years old or older of both sexes, half of whom are parents.

A Save the Children Japan official involved in the survey said the findings are cause for some concern.

“In some cases, light physical punishment becomes a serious problem,” the official said. “Ending corporal punishment is important in preventing child abuse.”

In response to the question “What do you think of using corporal punishment to discipline children?” 39.3 percent said it should be used only as a last resort, 16.3 percent said it should be used if necessary, and 1.2 percent said it should be used proactively.

Taken together, 56.7 percent of respondents supported using corporal punishment under certain circumstances.

Asked which types of corporal punishment are acceptable, 69.3 percent cited “spanking”; 65.5 percent picked “slapping the back of the hands”; and 30.7 percent chose “slapping the face.”

An additional survey covering 1,030 selected respondents with children 18 years old or younger found that 70.1 percent admitted having slapped their kids.

The survey showed that the more stress parents experience daily, the more likely they are to use corporal punishment on their children.

Such stress comes from their kids’ language and behavior, and the difficulties in balancing child-rearing, household chores and work.