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Abandoned boy reflects Japan's attitude on discipline, abuse

41 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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It’s more common for children to be CONSIDERED THE PROPERTY of their parents, rather than individuals with their own rights

And this is where the Japanese law and Japanese society needs to change!!

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Who is the person answering the questions? What qualifies them to answer these? How do they support the answers to their questions, is there any research, or is it just opinion.

Because some of it sounds like a lot of baseless drivel to me. In particular this comment:

It’s more common for children to be considered the property of their parents, rather than individuals with their own rights.

It sounds like the author has spent too much time reading some of the tripe posted on Japan Today.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Meanwhile, back in the real world...

The most vulnerable were elementary schoolchildren, and MOTHERS were most often the PERPETRATORS.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I agree with the decision to not press charges. You don't always need punishment to learn a lesson.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

A scary country where something as personal as a father bathing with his children is the business of the state and police. I agree kids need to be protected, but not by establishing a police state like the US.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

It is time to let them go back to living their lives and just be glad that the episode did not end tragically.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I agree with Strangerland that this 'interview' carries no weight when there is no indication of who is answering the questions.

Comparing Japan with the US is inappropriate, if we're looking for good child-rearing models. (How many Japanese kids grow up to join inner-city gangs, shooting each other into the statistics?)

corporal punishment, a father bathing with his little daughter, or leaving a child outside a supermarket in a shopping cart — all generally accepted in Japan — could be taken as child abuse

Corporal punishment covers everything from a light tap on the bottom to full-blown bloodletting and black eyes. While I prefer kids not to be hit at all, I don't see a tap on the bottom as 'abuse'. Less than stellar parenting, yes; abuse, no.

A father bathing with his little daughter is a beautiful thing. My husband did it with our daughter when she was little, our sil does it with our little granddaughters now. It's totally innocent, a great way for families to bond, and any abuse is in the smutty eye of the beholder. And why are you beholding families in the bath anyway.

I have never seen a child left in a shopping cart outside or inside a supermarket, and I deny the claim that it is 'generally accepted in Japan'. It isn't.

good parents are expected to control their kids

Yup. Don't let them grow up thinking violence works, or that joining the Crips is a worthwhile career move.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

The only shopping carts I have seen capable of holding a kid are in Costco. And most just let their kids run amok and are not watched. That should be considered abuse. Most are not Japanese by the way.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

So because he went back to get his kid, that makes it ok? So if someone "abandons a body" but returns later to retrieve it, does that make difference? I can't really understand most of Japanese "sometimes" laws.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Oh, I've been here too long. I can remember a certain TV programme that featured small children being separated from their mothers, and being told that they were never coming back. How the panels laughed to see their reactions! Does anyone else remember this?

Back in the day, it wasn't uncommon, in certain low-rent areas, to see babies in prams left outside pachinko parlours.

One of my students told me me, between gasps of laughter, that her pubescent daughter still bathes with her father, and that dad pats the girl's chest and tells her proudly "you're getting bigger now!" (Another student gigglingly told me that her little girl complained that "daddy's poop was floating in the bath water" but that's not really relevant here.)

And how many of you remember being annoyed by neighbourhood kids who had been locked outside as punishment by their parents, banging on the doors and screaming and crying to be let in? At least a few of those kids gave up and wandered off elsewhere (I should know, I was hauled out to help search for one of them, who was quickly found sitting on the swings in a local park).

Actually, maybe it's not me who has been here too long ... it's those of you who think that this is all normal and acceptable, and also that all children in other countries are gang members.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

I agree with commanteer. I bathe with my children and thats none of anybodies business.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Back in the day, it wasn't uncommon, in certain low-rent areas, to see babies in prams left outside pachinko parlours.

If we're going back to the day, my Mum used to make everyone laugh with her tales of how when I was a baby she would leave me outside a shop in the pram while she went inside, and when she came out she would find I had gotten into all kinds of mischief - chewing on raw sausages she had tucked into the bottom of the pram, taking toys from the kid in the next pram along and leaving him screaming.... back in the day. In the UK.

Different times.

how many of you remember being annoyed by neighbourhood kids who had been locked outside as punishment by their parents, banging on the doors and screaming and crying to be let in?

Yes, that happened a couple of times. Back in the UK. Yonks ago. Can't recall it ever happening in Japan. Maybe I just never lived in that kind of neighbourhood here.

all children in other countries are gang members

Got hyperbolic syndrome? The article mentions one particular country, twice, as a model of How Children Should Be Treated. I merely pointed out that it's not much of a role model.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

This article makes no sense since the parent did not abuse or abandon his child. His little chubby cheek rock thrower ran off and they tried to find him. It was a child out of visual position situation = that is what happens when you take you eyes off your child for 1 second or more.

He is guilty of not keeping constant eye contact on said child. There are GPS trackers for children now.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Back in the UK.

Seriously? that must be a generational thing. I have never heard of anyone being sent outside as a punishment, ever. I used to get sent to my room if I was naughty, and that was pretty standard. (Actually, I then used to sneak out of my room and race outside to the yard and poke faces at my mother through the kitchen window as she washed the dishes. That probably wasn't standard.)

Mum used to make everyone laugh with her tales of how when I was a baby she would leave me outside a shop in the pram.

My own mother, who apparently was a "good baby" with very regular habits, used to be left napping at home alone whilst my gran did the grocery shopping. But it wasn't pachinko, and it certainly didn't make the international headlines.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I was working at a Catholic high school installing window shades. This took about a month. During this time I took very close notice of the disciplining. I would watch the same teacher Adult/ Teacher visit a class in session and exit with a student. He would position the student so the students could view the conversation which will take place. Sometime the student would cry or show that they were embarrass to be having this conversation in view of their peers. I notice lately in general public were the parents will start a conversation with their child about their attitude in the same adult tone. Many years ago I would watch a parent tapping , smacking or belittling the child. So I do think that laws that ban parents from the above said techniques leads to better outcomes.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Seeing as there is a decided lack of violent crime and school massacres, you could argue maybe Japan has it right on child rearing over places like the US

1 ( +6 / -5 )

that must be a generational thing

You did say, back in the day....

2 ( +4 / -2 )

You did say, back in the day....

Meaning 1999, not the Mesozoic Era.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Sure Japan has it right dcog (sarcasm), but mothers killing their children here is an almost weekly occurrence...

No country is perfect, but c'mon...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Can the parents at least be charged for the financial costs incurred by the search?

Personally, I think it should be taken further, with criminal charges and putting the children in protective custody, but since the police have apparently dropped the ball on that one (日本だから - what a lame excuse), can we at least get the parents to pay for their idiocracy?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan signed the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1994, prompting it to enact the Child Abuse Prevention Act of 2000. The act defines four types of child abuse — physical, emotional, sexual and neglect — largely modeled on the U.S. definition, but does not include penalties.

So the thinking went something like, "Let's sign up to this international convention so we can't be accused of not taking the rights of children seriously, but then let's not really take it seriously enough to include penalties in the resulting law." I think that tells us a lot. And it is a recurring pattern.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Can the parents at least be charged for the financial costs incurred by the search?

A Japanese co-worked once mentioned that only sea search & rescue operations are paid for and/or subsidized. So if you get lost on a mountain, I'm pretty sure you/your family would have to pay the search costs. (You can get insurance that covers mountain search & rescue costs, though.)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Preseamelt: I notice a sign at a ski resort saying " If you entry the rope off restriction zone and a rescue team have to retrieve you, it will cost you Y50,000 per rescuer (personal). I assume you would have to pay for any equipment like Helicopter,s and planes if order to joint the rescue. I did not think he could pay if order to pay the costs. I know that they don,t have community service for punishment there in Japan. In this case. I would suggest that year of 10 hour per week picking up rubbish around their local transport hub and surrounding area for both the Father and the son would be fitting penalty.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I agree, John-San.

In this discussion, I understand the discomfort of going soft on abuse...

But in the US, I must agree with some of the other posters that things are less than ideal. And it is certainly harder for parents with the severe restrictions on corporal punishment in most of the United States, and the behavior of CPS in this regard.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I used to be locked outside daily in the heat so my grandma could watch movies. Shed make a 3 gallon tank of tea and that was supposed to last all day and no it did not and if I tried to go in by knocking or whatever I'd then get beat with a thorn switch lol happy days. This was the 80s and while that was excessive I still believe in discipline like a smack but not ever what I went through

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A Japanese mother I know emotionally abuses her little 3 year old horrendously and I don't know what I can do, She bullies her and puts her down constantly and uses derogatory Kansai-ben terms (oitsu etc.). She says things like, "you're no good at anything, are you!?', ' your sister is not like you, she is always good and smart, not a 'baka' like you, ne? It is heartbreaking to watch. What would you do? I get this kind of emotional abuse is pretty common among Japanese parents.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

“Remember, you’re not in Japan,”

In other words, the world does not revolve around Japan.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The guy left his child -- a crime. The child almost died as a result, he has cost the taxpayers millions, and he gets no punishment. Only in Japan!

" or leaving a child outside a supermarket in a shopping cart — all generally accepted in Japan"

The only reason this is getting any attention in Japan is because of the embarrassment suffered by the nation after this became an international headline and people were rightly indignant about how children are treated here. Abandonment, and that's what it is when you leave your child behind, is 'generally accepted'?? Insanity. Yamato and his sister should be taken away from the parents immediately, as they almost killed him. How often do we have to read about this, parents locking their kids in plastic containers, leaving them at pachinko parlors, or in cars while they go into said parlors, tying them to trees, putting cigarettes out on them, etc., before something effective is done? Letting the father and mother off the hook is just an invite for nothing to be done. Well, nothing except forming panels to discuss talking about it, of course.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Michael Werker JUN. 09, 2016 - 09:43AM JST I agree with commanteer. I bathe with my children and thats none of anybodies business.

As do I. My son (9) and I discuss basketball. Anyone who sees anything untoward or (god[s] forbid) sexual in that has a problem.

Anonymous Jones JUN. 09, 2016 - 12:11PM JST Sure Japan has it right dcog (sarcasm), but mothers killing their children here is an almost weekly occurrence... No country is perfect, but c'mon...

Erm... that happens in the US too, it's just not big enough news to matter.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I don't see any supporting evidence that this is wide spread or even a Japan-specific issue.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

As do I. My son (9) and I discuss basketball. Anyone who sees anything untoward or (god[s] forbid) sexual in that has a problem.

Id say the problem is with a father who needs to bathe with his 9 year old son in order to discuss basketball. Ever occur to you that you can do that on the living room sofa or at the dinner table?

Nothing wrong with bathing with your son up till a certain age. With a 9 year old is just plain strange...

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

the problem is with a father who needs to bathe with his 9 year old son in order to discuss basketball

Did he say they need to bathe together in order to discuss basketball? They bathe together, and they discuss things they're interested in. There is nothing at all wrong in that. Trying to dictate at what age parents and children should do what, is what's strange.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

And how many of you remember being annoyed by neighbourhood kids who had been locked outside as punishment by their parents, banging on the doors and screaming and crying to be let in?

My neighbour does this to his kids on a semi-regular basis.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

cleo - Im only responding to the excuse given. Nothing more, nothing less. And I'm not dictating to anyone the age at which they should stop bathing with their children. Just saying its flat out-creepy to still be bathing with a 9 year-old.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Im only responding to the excuse given

What excuse? It's a description.

Just saying its flat out-creepy to still be bathing with a 9 year-old

That's your opinion. Lots of people think it's perfectly natural, especially in Japan where communal bathing is nothing out of the ordinary.

Thinking it's creepy is... creepy.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

All readers back on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yamato and his sister should be taken away from the parents immediately, as they almost killed him.

We have now read about this case daily for two weeks. The parents have gone too far, that's sure. But abuse is still another category and from what I have read so far I don't feel in the position to judge it. There are a lot of important details missing which make the fine line between a (terrible) mistake and abuse. The fact that the boy almost got killed as a consequence is not relevant per se. But even if come to the conclusion that this case actually constitutes abuse, it doesn't mean that the children should be taken away from their parents. That would probably place a much higher psychological burden on them than what has happened so far. What we have to judge against is the danger of a repeated abuse in future. I'm glad that this difficult decision is not with a self-righteous crowd in the net lusting for vengeance at any cost.

How often do we have to read about this, parents locking their kids in plastic containers, leaving them at pachinko parlors, or in cars while they go into said parlors, tying them to trees, putting cigarettes out on them, etc., before something effective is done?

The mere fact that I don't remember ever having read any of this shows me that you're heavily exaggerating. For what purpose?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

All readers back on topic please. I don't know, this is one of the more perplexing issues raised here. I really don't know what to make of it. People assert various things. It would be nice if people explained their logic more. This would be a good question for the "give your opinion" section. But I'm more interested if people can back up their opinion with logic and maybe even something based on evidence. There is nothing creepy necessarily...up to a point. But what point?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The mere fact that I don't remember ever having read any of this shows me that you're heavily exaggerating. For what purpose?

Either that or you read Japanese news once every 4-5 months. Imguessing the latter since I remember every one of those incidents in the recent past.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The mere fact that I don't remember ever having read any of this shows me that you're heavily exaggerating. For what purpose?

You obviously don't read Japanese.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

On a family holiday as a child, I was refusing to eat my dinner and my father sent me to stand outside the camping car as a punishment. I stood crying outside the door and made sure a kind neighbor heard me and came out. They knocked on the door and my father (obviously embarrassed) let me back in. I guess these days the patent would give in and let the child have their dessert first. Most parents are too weak to stand up to their own children.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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