One of every five female high school and college students has experienced abuse by their partners, including verbal and sexual abuse, a survey conducted by a civic group showed.
The poll by Aware, a city-based group that provides assistance to victims of partner abuse, also showed that 8.9 per cent of male students had suffered such abuse.
Noriko Yamaguchi, who represents the group, said, "The survey shows that many young people mix up violent acts with expressions of affection and have ambiguous perceptions of violence."
The survey covered 2,494 students who attended lectures organized by Aware from 2006 to 2007, which were designed to raise young people's awareness of partner abuse.
Of the 535 female and 314 male students who said they had partners at the time or previously, 121 of the female students, or 22.6 per cent, and 28 of the male students said they had experienced partner abuse, including sexual abuse.
Forty-six of the female students and 56 of the male students said they had abused their partners.
Among both male and female students, 52.6 per cent said partners had checked their cellphone e-mail or stopped them from going out with friends.
While 25.6 per cent said they had experienced sexual abuse by partners, 12.1 per cent admitted to inflicting such abuse, showing a difference in perception between victims and abusers.
Half of the students said they did not talk about the abuse they experienced, partly because they did not consider such acts as violent, but some responded they did not discuss the abuse because they feared they would have to leave their partners.