lifestyle

Japan revamps child welfare, but tens of thousands still institutionalised

15 Comments
By Chang-Ran Kim

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15 Comments
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Ugh so depressing to read things like this... But it makes me want to show extra care to the Kidz I do see everyday.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Much more could be done for children in Japan overall. There are many childless couples so really how difficult is it for campaigns to be launched appealing to couples here? I can easily 'adopt' a child in Africa and the appeals to do so are conducted in the media and outside stations by a couple of very aggressive groups backed by the UN.I have yet to see one for Japanese children. Yet, the wish to remain single,let alone to start a family is a conscious decision for the childbearing generation here. And it is being rejected!

Maybe having kids (or adopting them) is now just a preserve of the rich?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

...in a society that treasures uniformity and blood ties, fostered or adopted children are often stigmatised.

During the Edo and Meiji era, adoption was very common in Japan, so this importance placed on blood ties must be a somewhat more recent phenomenon.

I've met Japanese people who deeply want a child, but are unable to because of fertility issues. Still, these couples refuse to adopt, and will opt to remain childless before taking that option.

On top of that, the Japanese government makes it very difficult for couples from other countries to adopt Japanese children (only 21 children under the age of six were adopted into the U.S. from Japan in 2012). The Japanese government would rather sweep the problem under the rug and let these children languish in these shameful orphanages rather than allow international adoption.

There are two problems here. First, Japanese law treats these children as property of their Japanese parents, no matter how unfit the parent(s) may have been. Second, politicians' eagerness to save face trumps their desire to ensure a positive upbringing for these children.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Being a father of a 8 month year old boy, this was one of the hardest articles to read by far. Especially about the baby being fed out of a bottle. I agree with all 3 of you and I'm going to go home and cuddle my baby boy even more tonight.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

They need to start with the fostering process in Japan. It's a flipping joke and many people just can't be bothered going through all the steps to be one foster parents, plus the government gives very little financial support to foster families putting the financial pressure onto the foster parents. Then, the adoption system is ten times worse and a hundred times more expensive. These two facts alone makes it very easy to understand why so many children are left in institutions.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Come on Japan this is simply WRONG, you can do better without much effort or funding. The current situation is criminal!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Like one mother who couldn't get her child into a childcare center said "Damn you Japan". In closing I am happy to say that in my younger years from 27-62 I was involved in many volunteer work after hours and on weekends. I took my two boys to volunteer programs so that they would understand the hurt and desperation of others when they grow up. I am now approaching the twilight of my life and regret that I can not adopt a child. I commend JT for this article by the above author.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"And in a society that treasures uniformity and blood ties, fostered or adopted children are often stigmatised." This is the default position in all Confucian-based societies - very cold and unloving in that regard compared to western culture.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

A baby lies in a metal-bar cot drinking from a bottle perched on his pillow in a Tokyo orphanage. There’s no one to hold and feed him or offer words of comfort.

Sounds more like Timisoara than Tokyo.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

A staggering 85% of the 40,000 children who can’t live with their parents in Japan are institutionalised

Yet the total number of children who don't live with their parents seems low compared to other countries. In the US, over 400,000 kids are in foster care. Over 60,000 in the UK (with about half of Japan's population).

We shouldn't be complacent, but that 85% figure is not the whole story.

During the Edo and Meiji era, adoption was very common in Japan, so this importance placed on blood ties must be a somewhat more recent phenomenon.

I've no data on this, but from family gossip it seems that adoption was also common in Japan in the 20th century, at least up till the 1950s. I get lost sometimes trying to follow family tales of how various grandparents, uncles and aunts arrived in the family.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I always wanted to adopt 1 or 2 more children in addition to the 3 I have already, but was told that mixed marriages cannot do so in Japan.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Cases of foreign men wishing to adopt will always be rejected. It is IMPOSSIBLE. Never gonna happen. Why? that should be obvious...and don't be offended...it starts with 'P' and ends in 'aphilia'. Japanese officials are obligated to conclude that those applicants may possibly present a risk of abuse themselves. Setting up your own proper religious orphanage is the only option...Also, how could I risk adopting a traumatised child into my family where there is a risk of damaging my own children? The Japanese will only express the age old "oh, that's too difficult"! which translates as 'give it up'...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

adoptions are even rarer, at 544 last year.

How sad. Bizarrely, according to the Economist, Japan is actually ranked second in the world behind the US when it comes to adoptions. However, only 2% of adoptees in this country are children while the rest are fully grown adults. Japan really needs to re-evaluate its priorities.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2013/04/economist-explains-why-adults-adopted-japan

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Do you wonder why there are so many abandoned kids here? It's because Japanese men DO NOT financially support the kids when they leave the partner. 98.3% of single mothers have to do it alone because 日本人の男責任しない This country is a joke when it come to responsibility. Look how many single mothers there are here..

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's because Japanese men DO NOT financially support the kids when they leave the partner.

Lots of Japanese men do. Your 98.3% number is incorrect.

And the other side of it is that many mothers here do not let the fathers see their kids. It's a two-way street.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

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