Training kids to safeguard them from abductions


Japan has been abuzz over the abduction of a teenage junior high school student from Asaka City in Saitama Prefecture, who reappeared after having gone missing two years ago. Police subsequently arrested her abductor, 23-year-old Kabu Terauchi. During his interrogation, Terauchi said he obtained hints for abducting a juvenile from reading a manual, which among other things provided advice on how to coerce the victim to write a letter to her parents saying they had run away from home.

Yukan Fuji (April 6) reports that several such manuals have been published. They contain such advisories as "Emphasize (in the letter) that they will definitely return home" and "include the name and date in the note." The one Terauchi's victim wrote supposedly also requested, "I want to take time away from home and school. Please don't go looking for me." His victim also wrote to her family, "I'm with someone I met in an online chatroom. I'm fine. Sorry to trouble you. I won't be back for a while yet."

Police investigators believe that by referring to the various manuals, Terauchi was able to get inside the girl's head, and convince her that escape would be futile.

Before going missing, the girl was last seen around 3:45 p.m. on March 10, 2014. The pattern closely corresponds to the statistics for disappearances by children. According to National Police Agency figures, from January 2013 to the end of November 2014, 194 cases of abductions or kidnappings were reported involving children aged 13 or younger. In 82 out of the 137 cases where the circumstances of the abductions were known, they occurred between the hours of 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. -- typically times when the child was returning home from school or lessons.

In terms of location of the abduction, the most common, in 34% of the cases, was "on the street." In 52.8% of the cases, the victim was not known to the perpetrator. The second most common situation was abductions by a parent following divorce or trouble between parents, which involved 32.1% of the cases.

The girl later told police that Terauchi had approached her saying urgently, "Your parents have decided to divorce. I've been asked to take you to the attorney." He then drove her by car from Saitama.

Takeo Funyu, a researcher at the SECOM security agency, says that abductors' approaches generally fall into four patterns. The first involves something along the lines of, "I'd like to show you a cute puppy. Let's go together and see him." The others include appealing to their sense of civic duty, such as by saying, "I seem to have lost my way. Would you mind showing me?" Trying to tempt them into doing something appealing: "Would you like to model for my photographs?" And a ruse involving a sense of urgency, such as "Your mom's been involved in a car wreck -- quick, come with me!"

The correct response in all four cases, says Funyu, is "refusal." To an invitation, the child should be drilled to say "Shirimasen" (I don't know) or "Iya desu" (No way).

"If the person persists, the child should be trained to shout out in a loud voice and start running away in the direction opposite from the way the car is facing," Funyu advises. And to prevent from being grabbed and pulled into a vehicle, it's important to teach the child to maintain a sensible distance.

Since a child can easily panic in such a situation, Funyu also suggests that training which simulates an approach by a potential abductor "is also effective."

Another smart move is to develop familiarity with adults whom a child might encounter during their regular walks, as they may serve as protective eyes and ears. And finally, Funyu advises parents that even routes to school or playgrounds that appear safe still ought to be reviewed, and any points of concern brought to the attention of schools and the local police.

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I have an idea - give kids a lanyard with a shrill whistle attached so they can blow a loud warning to the neighbourhood or other area in which they're walking, to alert people (and the perps) that they're being attacked. I'm bringing a dozen of said tools, when I land in Haneda, in three days, prior to my usual 2-month trek around the country. Simple. Effective. Scary as hell to the bad guys.

-3 ( +2 / -4 )

I have an idea - give kids a lanyard with a shrill whistle attached so they can blow a loud warning to the neighbourhood or other area in which they're walking

A significant number of kids here already carry phones with alarms, or just alarms, with pull-strings they can use if being abducted.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

A significant number of kids here already carry phones with alarms, or just alarms, with pull-strings they can use if being abducted.

Those contraptions sometimes go off in the classroom. Used to scare the poop out of me, but now everytime I hear one I just shrug it off as a false alarm.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Common sense?

Kind of hard to prevent against crafty pedo's who are trying on MANY different kids until they find one.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

If they have smartphone, there's GPS apps for parents to track their kids. Make loud commotions

And if ya can, become "big" and never let them pull ya into the car. For instance, if ya have a bike, hold on to that bike with your dear life, since they'd have a very hard time getting you and a bike into a car.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Stranger Danger should be in the teachers manual. Why is it not is part of their early schooling like crossing the road and swimming. Why don,t the teachers insist that it be part of early learning. Statistics show that children younger then 16 are the target. So why not a refresher lesson at the start of each year. Or don,t teachers care ? One teacher on this forum commented about a safe guard device as a contraptions and even stated that they total ignore the device when one go off. The same teacher suggest they should have a smart phone so help find where the child is. Not if it has be tossed away be the abductor. Part of the problem is the quality of schooling of these children are receiving.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A sad story indeed, but aren't we getting a little carried away? I mean, if you consider the actual statistics and the fact that only a rather small percentage of child victimizers in violent crimes are strangers. It might just be more harmful to children to 'drill' or simulate such things. And by the way, Secom employs researchers? They are most certainly in the business of fear, I wouldn't take one ounce of advise about raising my kids from a corporation that benefits from creating a sense of fear so that people install more security systems and buy more property insurance.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The stats have stranger-abductions as rare. Sensible measures: of course. However, keep things in perspective. Probably best to keep kids in groups anyway. But this is a rare problem. I'm guessing wearing bike helmets and bicycle safety will prevent more harm to kids than a reaction to this problem.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Stranger Danger should be in the teachers manual.

Are you saying we should teach our kids never to help strangers? I think jaybeeb and shallots have more sensible attitudes to this.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Suggestion, stop kids from keeping their heads down in their phones or games while walking on the streets and teach them to pay attention to their surroundings and stop acting like nothing will ever happen to them.

The false sense of security that so many Japanese feel is misplaced. Street smarts, paying attention to your surroundings, knowing where you are and where to go when in trouble.

Some Japanese parents will say teaching those things will just scare the kids, and make them fearful of their environment, and I would tell them, better them to be a little afraid at first and then be taught how to deal with it is a hell of a lot better than losing your child to some abductor. They almost always reply..."It won't happen to me!"

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Yubaru, man... You are "killing it" with these awesome responses. Keep it up.

I would also like to add, perhaps parents should consider enrolling their students into a self-defense course. It would be a good idea for children to build instincts to stun an attacker in the moment where an abduction should happen to buy time to get away.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yubaru: Street smarts, paying attention to your surroundings, knowing where you are and where to go when in trouble. This is actually what is teached to children in Stranger Danger. I can remember the lesson when I was a kid. This has also helpful in Adult life. I am always checking out around me when I am get about especially in Ichinoseke at 8.30 am when the school kid get off the train and on theirs bike and hit the foot path from the station to school. It like running the gauntlet.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They have GPS tracker watches for kids that are <$100.

The girl from Saitama was grabbed and forced into his car. -Not much would have helped that situation. I would say keep your distance from strangers and don't let people grab at you. Run if you can or just ball-up and sit on the ground (harder to pick up and move).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is actually what is teached to children in Stranger Danger.

I am sorry I am unfamiliar with the program, but after googling it, I see that it would be something that could be adapted for here.

The attitude of "it doesnt happen here" or "it wont happen to my children" is pure ignorance on the part of parents. Parents here are blind to the potential dangers their children face and too many are unwilling to accept the fact that shit happens.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"it wont happen to my children"

It is exceedingly unlikely. Sensible measure, kept in perspective, are good. However the chances are close to none. Bullying and bicycle safety are far greater problems.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Get rid of those school uniforms girls wear - too enticing for the pervs. They should all wear pant suits.

I like the rolling up in a ball on the ground idea someone above proposed.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I don't suggest rolling up into a ball. It may work for aardvarks, but any parent knows a rolled up kid is easier to pick up than one that is kicking and fighting.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

martial arts is a very good idea. I'm gonna start with my boy as soon as possible.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@commanteer You are absolutely correct when referring to small children, but once one hits about 50 kilos in middle school it junior high, it takes quite a bit of of effort to lift that dead weight.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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