Photo of Saya Minami, who has been missing since Friday Photo: Matsudo police handout
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7-year-old girl missing in Chiba Prefecture

32 Comments

Police in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, on Sunday issued an appeal to the public for any information concerning a seven-year-old girl who went missing on Friday.

According to police, Saya Minami and her mother were planning to go to a nearby park, Kyodo News reported. Saya left the house a few minutes ahead of her mother at around 11:30 a.m. and said she would see her at the park. Saya’s mother arrived at the park about five minutes later but there was no sign of her daughter. After a search of the area, she called 110.

Police said Saya's kickboard was found at another park near the one she and her mother were supposed to go to. Her shoes and socks were found 300 meters away at the edge of the Edo River.

Around 120 police, firefighters and divers searched the river and nearby area Saturday and resumed their search on Sunday morning.

Saya is about 115 cms tall, has short cropped hair and was wearing a pale pink T-shirt and blue shorts when she was last seen.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Matsudo police at 047-369-0110.

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32 Comments
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Hopefully, she will be found safe soon.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Let us hope that no mother, no father or care raker in Japan or in the world will leave a child or children alone 24/7/365.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

All those cases seem to have something in common. The kids of all ages here , compared to most other countries, are very fearless and naive, when it’s about anything water like rivers, lakes, the sea and so on, although they often can’t swim , estimate the dangers or develop something like attention or fear themselves. Of course, it’s an island country and the sea as well as sea food play the major role in everything daily life and are assigned an always positive and harmless attitude, but we see here, that this is sometimes quite some dangerous and should be a little more emphasized by parents, kindergartens and schools.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The kids of all ages here , compared to most other countries, are very fearless and naive

Well-put. It's testament to the relative safety of Japan that kids are naive, and testament to Japanese parenting skills that make kids independent, at least, in certain terms. But that combo is a bit dangerous; I feel kids here are less aware of stranger danger and less able to handle such situations, as they do sometimes arise. And perhaps being raised around water and mountains makes kids a bit overly confident in their ability to navigate them.

I know I was like that as a kid, as we lived on the edge of a 15,000 acre state forest. My sister and I explored without fear, always thinking we could find our way home - and luckily we did. As an adult I now wonder how we managed that, since we basically ignored our father and mother telling us not to go out of site of the house.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

I hope they find her asap.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

let us all pray for this little angle and hope she will be in Mother arms soon, I really hope so.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I heard a theory that she was taken and her shoes and socks were just placed there. In other news they said the shoes were found in the opposite direction from the park.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

and testament to Japanese parenting skills that make kids independent

Errr, sorry. I've never met so many non independent kids in my life as I did in Japan.

But arguments aside, this is a very sad story and I hope she is found soon!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

When I first saw the photo I thought it was Misaki Ogura, the little girl who went missing from the campsite and found dead in Yamanashi. They look very similar.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

You can't leave the child out of sight, no matter how safe this country is.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Errr, sorry. I've never met so many non independent kids in my life as I did in Japan.

Well kids in Japan go to school alone from 6 years old sometimes riding trains on the way. Never ever this would imaginable in Western countries. It took me a long time to get use to it with my kids.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

As a Brit and Canadian it freaks me out to see the age at which kids are walking to school on their own in Japan, negotiating traffic and all the other dangers. I hope that this little one will be found quickly and unharmed. Thoughts for all directly involved in this. As a parent I can't begin to imagine the anguish........

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Let us hope that no mother, no father or care raker in Japan or in the world will leave a child or children alone 24/7/365.

This kind of thinking has led to a generation of helicopter parents, and children who are unable to take care of themselves in the real world, due to having had their parents watching over them and never giving them the opportunity to learn to make a mistake.

Of course, this situation - which appears to be a tragedy though hopefully will have a good result - is the risk. But the alternative is raising kids who end up crippled by an inability to take care of themselves as adults.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

According to police, Saya Minami and her mother were planning to go to a nearby park, Kyodo News reported. Saya left the house a few minutes ahead of her mother at around 11:30 a.m. and said she would see her at the park.

I'm sorry; what?? A seven-year-old decided to go ahead to the park alone and her mother was like, "yeah, you go on with your bad self"?!! She's seven. She shouldn't have been going anywhere alone and no, I don't care that she's just ambling down to her neighborhood park. I don't condone this trend of helicopter parenting but it should also be common sense and logic that letting a seven-year-old out by themselves is a big no. The poor girl. Fingers and toes crossed they find her safe and sound.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

girl_in_tokyoSep. 25  07:04 pm JST

don't know why you scored negative points for your comment, I thought it balanced and positive....

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Hoping and praying for a safe return for that little girl.

Police said Saya's kickboard was found at another park near the one she and her mother were supposed to go to. Her shoes and socks were found 300 meters away at the edge of the Edo River.

This doesn't look good

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Disagree. You are talking about the other extreme of overcaring for children and controlling them. When we go out our kids (3 and 6) are let free to go where they want generally (except near traffic). They often lead, but we never take our eyes of them, ever. Even if they are 50-100 metres away one of us has eyes on them such that they are often not aware we are.

Of course you disagree. You wouldn't find a single helicopter parent on this planet who would agree with me when I point out the problem with being a helicopter parent. If they agreed with me, they wouldn't be helicopter parents.

Helicopter parents have created a generation that needs participation trophies, doesn't know how to fail, and can't function as adults outside of their parents' eye.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

When tragedy strikes and concerns a Child who at the time was on their own, we often read of others commenting how bad it was for the Parents to leave that Child alone.

Like it or not, it appears to be commonplace in Japan, especially in the Major Cities, to see young Kids walking around on their own, and even travelling (in School uniform) on trains by themselves.

What age do you think Kids should be allowed to do things by themselves within your own Countries ?

It would be interesting to see such a survey being carried out, in combination with showing the Legal limit - if indeed there is one, within that Country.... perhaps such a survey has been conducted already ?

In terms of this situation, words can't provide any form of consolation to the Parent(s) concerned. I just hope , that the young Girl is found alive and well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Relative safety of Japan

Oh yes it's so safe and that's why the girl is missing due to the parents poor parenting skills and incompetence.

Lets hope she didn't get abducted in this relatively safe Japan.

Hope the girl gets found safe

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@letsberealistic

Not sure where you get your statistics from but it seems Japan has far safer than NZ on both kidnappings and deaths:

Japan: https://knoema.com/atlas/Japan/topics/Crime-Statistics/Assaults-Kidnapping-Robbery-Sexual-Rape/Kidnapping-rate

NZ: https://www.google.com/amp/knoema.com/atlas/New-Zealand/Kidnapping-rate%3fmode=amp

Or here: https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/kidnappings-per-country

And accidents and adverse events deaths per million here: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Accidents-and-adverse-events-rates-per-million-ranked-by-infant-rates_tbl2_278396389

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Hope she's ok. Personally I won't let my dog wander away, no idea why some people think that letting kids stray is acceptable.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What age do you think Kids should be allowed to do things by themselves within your own Countries ?

Around 10-11 years of age depending on their ability to navigate, obey traffic laws, know what to do in an emergency, how confident they are etc.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well kids in Japan go to school alone from 6 years old sometimes riding trains on the way.

That doesn't mean they are independent. It just means the parents have no time to take them to school.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@letsberealistic

I'm in complete agreement.

Parents need to walk their children to school or at least have a school bus.

I always felt very uncomfortable in Tokyo seeing tiny kids on the trains in their in school uniforms, knowing how many strange people there are in Tokyo.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A lot of Japanese people seem to despise children - they scowl if children make a noise on public transport and people often complain about the noise from kindergartens.

Goodness gracious me. They're a miserable lot the Japanese, aren't they!

(Only joking)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For people living outside of Japan, making Comments is easy - regardless whether they are Japanese or not, though when you live here, today, now, things are somewhat different.

Even when I wish to accompany my own Child to School, they Complain bitterly... my doing so, would be a Cultural Embarrassment to them now.

For those "Commentators" who live outside of Japan,... I actually agree, and would do what you would do locally within your own regions of residences, though here in Japan, it's like living in Disney-land in comparison... to where you live now. The Kids complain about your over protectionism, and get teased at school too.

Occasionally a bad agent appears, though they are hopefully caught promptly and dealt with.

That said, I sometimes forcefully put my foot down, and go against the local niceties... recently, my youngest Son whilst on the way to School, was attacked by a dog being walked by a Foreign woman. She apparently made no attempt to assist, nor even apologize after the event. Since then, I have, much to the protest of my Son, will occasionally accompany him on the way to his School. Should I find the same Woman, I will advise her to muzzle her dog, hopefully she will be accompanied by her Husband, and I will have words with him too - and I don't GAF if it's Tyson Fury too... when it comes to honest decency between people, we all generally have a common understanding.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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