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Accidental deaths on the rise in daycare centers in Japan

33 Comments
By Kyoko Hasegawa

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An "increase" is sadly going to happen, when it becomes economically necessary for BOTH parents to work, and with an increase in single parents.

Sadly there have always been and will be accidental deaths, in all age groups, it's just that with children it's so much harder to take. Used to be a time when grandma and grandpa watched the kids while mom and dad worked, not so much now a days, hence articles like this. BUT even when grandma and grandpa were watching them, things like this happened too.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Over the next 4 years you will see day care centre opening around Tokyo. Tokyo governor realising the desperate need for such centres. Do get confuse her care about the Tokyo workers, It about the Games. Tokyo will now became a new source for new agencies around the world over the next four years. Any negativity the international press can get their hand on will be promoted. So the Governor will be the person the finger is going to be pointed at when things goes wrong. Being a women she will not get much help from the old establishment surrounding her. You will see with-in 3 months a new Government team solely pick by the Governor with only concentrating on the Games. I hope it fill up with women.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

re: I simply cannot understand why Japan has not been investing more in younger generations that will eventually support all of society.

The reason is because women are not supporting Abe and his comments to bear more children. Sad as this unfortunate incident is, Yuki needs to keep moving and bear 1 more. I'm sure there are many willing participants out there who would be wiling to give it go with her. Not saying dont' care, but keep moving and continue the legal process to correct what occurred but have one more along the way.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

A parent's worst tragedy. There has to be standards and licenses for all daycare facilities, official or not. And crying means the infant needs something, not to be shut in a room. Anybody who thinks otherwise is useless as a caregiver.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Child welfare specialist Hiroko Inokuma said deregulation plans were “a reckless move…which could lead to more accidents” with too many children crammed into nurseries.

Yeah and other experts having been saying that government standards were too strict and impeding efforts to increase the number of daycare places.

Abe has come under fire for his call for the nation’s women to both bear more children to stem a falling population, and to keep working to boost the struggling economy, without providing proper childcare facilities to support this dual demand.

Abe is fortunately not a dictator. He cannot snap his fingers and get things to happen. It is in fact local governments that build and manage daycare centers. Some local governments have been quite good (Yokohama), other have been sluggish at best. Before blaming Abe, people who need daycare should check how their local government compares with the best.

With the option of large-scale immigration off the table in culturally conservative Japan

I'd like to see it demonstrated that Japan is any more “culturally conservative” than most countries and anyone who reads the news carefully will know that in fact large-scale immigration is being considered within the Abe government.

Since coming to power in 2012, he has also touted female-focused “womenomics” policies as part of his broader “Abenomics” economic revitalisation plan, but with little success.

Norway, considered one of the most advanced countries in terms of “womenomics” and one of the models for the whole concept has taken more than thirty years to get where it is today. To expect Abe to have achieved something similar in four years is ludicrous.

I simply cannot understand why Japan has not been investing more in younger generations that will eventually support all of society.

Because politicians in Japan like politicians in most countries cannot see beyond the next election and young people in Japan like young people in most countries don't bother to vote.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

And by the looks of it, population decrease will accelerate even more dramatically if they keep on dumping the offsprings in these brutal, impersonal kiddi concentration camps. Imagine, little fellow is ripped out of his or her sleeps at 5 in the morning , feed some crappy quick watch me call it but anything decent breakfast and then shoved off to one of these holes. No surprise they will throw the towel halfway through the day.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is heartbreaking read. As for the reason " Japan hasn't been investing more in childcare " - simply because spending on pork barrel stimulus projects year after year delivers more block votes for LDP politicians come election time.

" i,d like to see it demonstrated that Japan is more culturally conservative than other countries " when it comes to immigration.... Surely you can't be serious. How about the well publicised statistic if Japan accepting what was it 11 refugees last year? Compare that with any other developed democracy that Japan likes to compare itself too and let's see how many refugees / immigrants they took in...even when considering other migrant categories Japan is way down bottom. A simple fact. " Norway has taken thirty years to get there "....Japan had just as much time. Kind of irrelevant to compare Abe,s government to all Norway governments over the last 30 years combined. it comes down to " cultural " status of women here vs Western world and the snail speed of any change in Japan.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I'd like to see it demonstrated that Japan is any more “culturally conservative” than most countries and anyone who reads the news carefully will know that in fact large-scale immigration is being considered within the Abe government.

Large scale? What is "large scale" to you? Abe only wants "professionals" to come and work here, but he fails to realize that those same professionals have little to gain by living and working here.

Not to mention the discrimination and racism that foreigners face here on a daily basis.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"Accidental deaths on the rise in daycare centers in Japan" You know. This makes me wonder about intentional deaths. Are they on the rise too? Because it seems to me that accidents are, you know, accidents, which occur from all kinds of causes that defy most cautions and countermeasures.

Putting kids on their backs "reduces the risk of SIDS." But the risk is still there, right? And having a higher number of kids at marginally lower risk is still going to produce deaths.

2/3 of the 14 children who died were at non-official daycare centers. But then a talking head says that deaths are 30 times more frequent at non-official daycare centers. How can these statements both be true? Only if the number of non-official daycare centers is miniscule. In fact, the obvious conclusion is that if we had LESS DAYCARE, fewer deaths would occur. Just cut the non-official ones and you solve 2/3 of the problem, right? One might then ask, "Why are women who want more daycare so bent on killing children?"

And maybe we should be concentrating on limiting the cases of cold-blooded murder, you know "non-accidental" deaths. Just for instance, the frustrated (actually hysterical) mother who wrote "Japan DIE" anonymously. Maybe she needs to be checked on.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

And by the looks of it, population decrease will accelerate even more dramatically if they keep on dumping the offsprings in these brutal, impersonal kiddi concentration camps. Imagine, little fellow is ripped out of his or her sleeps at 5 in the morning , feed some crappy quick watch me call it but anything decent breakfast and then shoved off to one of these holes. No surprise they will throw the towel halfway through the day.

I had two kids in public daycare. Nothing like what you describe. My walk to work takes me past three private day care facilities. I can see what they are doing. Nothing like what you describe.

" i,d like to see it demonstrated that Japan is more culturally conservative than other countries " when it comes to immigration.... Surely you can't be serious. How about the well publicised statistic if Japan accepting what was it 11 refugees last year?

It recognized a small number of refugees. The number allowed to stay in Japan is far larger. Refugees and immigrants are not the same thing. Further, look what the influx of "refugees" has done for Germany. It has been a godsend to the neo-Nazi and right-wing movements and has frightened a large fraction of the ordinary population. Merkel's approval ratings have dropped significantly.

it comes down to " cultural " status of women here vs Western world and the snail speed of any change in Japan.

The "Western world" is not one single entity. Japan is in fact "ahead" of southern Europe on many indicators. There is now a larger fraction of prime age women in the Japanese work force than the American work force. The US rate is going down, the Japanese rate is going up.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

bullfighter: "I'd like to see it demonstrated that Japan is any more “culturally conservative” than most countries and anyone who reads the news carefully will know that in fact large-scale immigration is being considered within the Abe government."

What, you mean they might let in ONE Kurdish refugee instead of ZERO, for example? I suppose one IS a large increase for people who want zero, but still. And "allowing people to stay" is not the same thing as letting in immigrants to settle permanently, as we have seen with Japan's labor trafficking problem.

"As for the "snail speed of any change" in Japan, you must not have been here in the late 70s..."

So, 50 years ago? And that's 'speedy' to you?

As to the daycare nonsense -- simply passing lip-service laws and then demanding local governments, who are waiting for more standardised laws, is the usual thing for the Japanese government, from education to this, and this is what happens when they have so many 'unofficial' places allowed to exist when they should not to begin with. Yes, this is every bit Abe's fault, since he promised to do something about it but has done NOTHING (except lip-service and parading his miracle arrows on the world stage before admitting he has no bow).

4 ( +5 / -1 )

And the politicians argue & debate about the causes for Japan's declining birthrate . . . hmm.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A close friend of mine works at one of the officially govt subsidized daycare centers in Tokyo. She works long hours, pretty much 90% of the time on her feet shuffling around with no real lunch break or times to rest except when eating with the kids. Her pay is abysmal (approx 2.5m~2.7m year), gets 10 days holiday and works at least one Sat a month for events with no extra pay. She has been working for nearly 10 years in this field and is burnt out at 33 yrs of age. Who wants to work in these conditions? Answer is very few as they are unable to hire new, young teachers who often give up mainly due to the workload and number of children they need to watch. Stress. Low population issue at play as well as there are very few 22-25 year olds willing to put in these types of hours under this amount of pressure for poor pay. And then you see accidents like the above occurring. Immigration? no way....30-40% increase in pay with proper breaks and holidays? Nope. It is a very deep reaching problem that will take more than money to fix.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I blame the fact you have a male dominated government on their lack of investment in childcare, health and education.

If you had more female leaders they would be able to provide a female's perspective and push through reforms. Japan is not a great place to bring up a child, and it's only going to get worse if government doesn't invest more rather than less.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Zeus help the children here. Too few in number so too few to be concerned about. Too young to vote so too young to matter.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan is just horrific place for children to raise by parents due to now having jobs not corresponding to the level of respect for such commitment. Personally, I am part of the conservative persons where I believe children under 5 should be taken care by family as far as possible, not just dumpimg them to a daycare. Life is not about money first. Thanks for telling about working conditions in daycare facilities. I must admit I would flee this slavery if it had been me...just read on the internet and discover that nearly everywhere in the world you find much better jobs. I understand now even more why my wife is not discussing about work with me. Heaven is sometimes much closer than what you think. Kids should be the primary concern of a dying country demographically speaking.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As to the daycare nonsense -- simply passing lip-service laws and then demanding local governments, who are waiting for more standardised laws, is the usual thing for the Japanese government, from education to this, and this is what happens when they have so many 'unofficial' places allowed to exist when they should not to begin with. Yes, this is every bit Abe's fault, since he promised to do something about it but has done NOTHING (except lip-service and parading his miracle arrows on the world stage before admitting he has no bow).

Nothing peculiar about this pattern. It is basically the same as that in Britain. The national government mandates certain services, local governments implement those services. The alternative would be to have bureaucrats in Kasumigaseki deciding everything even if the actual daycare center was a thousand kilometers from Tokyo. That would really slow things down.

Your claim that "NOTHING" has been done is totally bogus. Nationally, there has in fact been a substantial increase in the number of daycare places on offer. Demand has, however, out stripped provision. But, that in itself is proof that more women with kids are entering the workforce.

This Japanese language article and the graphs in it show clearly that not only has there been an increase in the number of children in daycare and that the increase accelerated with the onset of the Abe administration although it began earlier.

http://www.garbagenews.net/archives/2092001.html

I don't like to repeat but you and others don't seem to be getting the message. It is not that the Abe administration has done "NOTHING" on daycare. The problem is that the demand for daycare (primarily in big cities with strong economies) has been growing faster than the supply.

If you had more female leaders they would be able to provide a female's perspective and push through reforms.

Not necessarily. Wishful thinking. The European record shows that there is wide variation in how much effort powerful women put into such issues.

Japan is just horrific place for children to raise by parents due to now having jobs not corresponding to the level of respect for such commitment.

I'm doing it right now with a working wife and two kids aged sixteen and thirteen. Hardly horrific and easier than I would expect had I decided to do it in Britain.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The cost of living and raising a family necessitates both parents work in many, many families. Day care is rationed in Japan, it is very difficult to get your child into one. If your child can not get in, then serious financial difficulties are all but assured for the family.

Licensing alone is of little use. Many chidren too many children die in them too, albiet less that unlicensed. When we were looking for day care for our child, the best one was an unlicensed day care. The staff to child ratio was the best, they had a great educational system, pluses all around except for location. Luckily, our second choice, an official day care, has worked out wonderfully.

But many of the official day care centers we visited were not apealling at all. Across between boot camp and what I have read prison to be like.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The cost of living and raising a family necessitates both parents work in many, many families. Day care is rationed in Japan, it is very difficult to get your child into one.

Depends where you live. It is NOT a Japan problem. It is a big city problem and even within big cities the waiting list issue varies greatly. Generally, the more attractive parts of Tokyo have large waiting lists while the grittier parts have short waiting lists.

This Japanese language source shows the regional difference very clearly.

http://grading.jpn.org/J250502.html

This Japanese language source from the Tokyo Municipal Government gives detailed figures for the different jurisdictions response for daycare within the city.

http://www.metro.tokyo.jp/INET/CHOUSA/2015/07/60p7n200.htm

Generally, the message for those who don't want to face the waiting lists is "Go east young family, go east." The attractive western wards and constituents of Tokyo have long waiting lists. The down market and gritty eastern part of Tokyo has short waiting lists.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Bullfighter, with all due respect of seniority and experience, I know that clever people have no trouble making it to raise their family. As I am a rather full of empathy, I just get mad when I see all the difficulties created by the systems, and people, because they are self-centered. Yes parents need money to pay for useless stuff in Japan. Parents can say no to some rules or some jobs(either as employees/employers). No complain, no change. Day care employees deserve much better. Parents need to focus on time spent with their babies/kids(you are among the minority in Japan if you get involved with your kids life). 10 days of holidays and a Saturday/month for event...that is hell.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Bullfighter

"This Japanese language article and the graphs in it show clearly that not only has there been an increase in the number of children in daycare and that the increase accelerated with the onset of the Abe administration although it began earlier."

And yet, they were not prepared. Did they not expect mothers to actually reenter the work force? Or did they just overlook the fact that if more mothers are at work, then more daycare facilities will be needed?

As this is a result of a stated goal, there is no excuse for not the size of the problem, none what so ever. For a familiy that MUST have both parents working to make ends meet and there not be a place in a daycare facility for their child despite paying taxes for such facilities, NOTHING has been done. What you cite are excuses, and excuses never solve problems.

I don't care what it is in other counties, I and my family live and pay taxes in Japan. It IS a problem we face in JAPAN and is thus a JAPAN PROBLEM.

I live east of Tokyo. Yes, down market areas have shorter waiting lists, they generaly also have fewer facilities for expectate mothers and hospitals that accept injured and sick children. Should taxpayers in Japan be satisfied that we have to choose between medical facilities for pregnant women and young children OR for a daycare facility?

I am not.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

igloo buyer: "If you had more female leaders..."

Another Abe failure, after he paraded about the UN stage saying he was going to change Japan and bring in more females than in history (before in actuality he brought about the lowest in LDP history). True, after two reshuffles he has put in token ultra-right wingers to positions of power, but those woman are no better than the men, as they often think it's a woman's place to serve, and to do so without question. Some posters on here in the past have expressed as much, saying women's empowerment is part of today's problem, and anyone who says differently is "trying to force their culture on Japan", despite Abe promising what he did, and failing in that, too.

It's not just about empowering women -- it's about bringing in the right people, men or women. Renho seems to have the right idea about what to do to increase the level of support for families, for example.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Nothing peculiar about this pattern. It is basically the same as that in Britain.

You know, every point you attempt to make is defeated by the fact that you obfuscate and deflect and more importantly make comparisons to some other country and their system.

Typical of Japanese people to run away from facing the problems that their country faces.

Want to see things change here...quit the BS and focus on HERE no where else.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

people who have child should be granted much more financial support from government if Japan is going to improve a low birth rate seriously. it is really tough environment to have child in current situation in Japan. I truly hope education fee become free until university graduation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why should other taxpayers cover the cost of my child? No, less government spending and lower taxes so that I have more left of what I earn to pay for my own needs is what is required.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Why should other taxpayers cover the cost of my child? No, less government spending and lower taxes so that I have more left of what I earn to pay for my own needs is what is required.

Because we live in a society, and a society is a group made up of members. Not a bunch of individuals.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Government regulations dictate children need to be placed to sleep on their backs—to reduce the risk of SIDS—and checked every 10 minutes.

How many parents check their children every 10 minutes during the night, when everyone is normally sleeping?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

day care employees are typically underpaid and overworked. this isnt a tv drama, its reality. when pay/working conditions and morale are poor the service performed by these people naturally suffers. Its the same in the language industry - a bs performance in order to get through the day without compaint. no fault of the employee.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

i understand the anger, but considering the majority of voters of women, and they keep electing abe and aso, they kind of get what they deserve,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Because we live in a society, and a society is a group made up of members. Not a bunch of individuals."

Not good enough. Especially, if you are one who either does not want children, having been trying to have children and can't or can not afford to raise your own. Why should they have to pay for mine!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Not good enough. Especially, if you are one who either does not want children, having been trying to have children and can't or can not afford to raise your own. Why should they have to pay for mine!

Because we live in a society, and society is a group made up of members, not a bunch of individuals.

I know this is a pretty difficult concept for right-wing Americans, but the rest of the world gets it. You probably should stay in your right-wing bubble in America if you don't like it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I know that it is difficult for lefties to get, but every time socialisn is tried it leads enforced mediocrity, rationing and bankruptcy.

Next to every major economy on Earth right now is experiencing huge budget shortfalls. Where is all the huge amounts of revenue they suck up go? It ain't goin to where it is truely needed. Worse, by having to pay these huge revenues, the citizens are not left with enough to pay for the things they need on their own. Many, many more people would be able to provide for themselves if not forced to provide for everyone.

No body, expect the rulers have enough under socialism.

This story is a great example. Why are there not enough day care centers? Why, when the birth rate has been below replacement levels for so many years, is the government not able to provide for the demand, demand that its own policies increased? Even people willing and able to pay for quality daycare for their children can not get it because it is in such short supply, it is rationed.

And thus it has always been and thus it shall always be under socialism. History proves it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Instead of spending billions of yen on maglev to Nagoya, is it not better to build more kindergartens? This will make difference in the future, not maglev.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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