Japan baby hatch hospital offers mothers last resort

By Tomohiro OSAKI

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If any nation needs this it’s Japan. It’s better than all the stories we see about infants dumped in the trash, public toilets, coin lockers, or thrown from roofs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Instead of accusing me of not understanding, why don't you say what japan does that the US or many others doesn't? I gave you the baseline in my prior comment for comparison. Thank you.

0 ( +1 / -1 )


As far as the adoption process goes, it's the same in many countries. 

What terrible generalization is this! No it’s not the same in many countries! Have you actually tried to adopt using the system in Japan or do you know someone close to you who has done so ( probably not )! Stop making wild generalizations when the reality is the totally opposite! Japans system is the most complex and complicated and many good people who could have been wonderful parents just gave up after years of dealing with this system in Japan! Until and unless the adoption system improves in Japan we will keep hearing about newborn babies being killed by throwing in the toilet, garbage and elsewhere! The Japanese government has money to throw around to other countries in the form of donations and aid but never tries to make any efforts to allocate funds to deal with these areas!

-5 ( +1 / -6 )


Anyone ever try adopting in Japan? There are thousands of couples and they make you go to weeks of parenting classes, even if you already have natural children at home. They go through your financial records, the process takes years and years and most prospective parents give up because they make it so difficult.

One of my mate from the UK who has Japanese citizenship now and his Japanese wife wanted to adopt a child in Japan and went through hell! They finally gave up after 2 years of parenting classes, application form filling one after the other and constant interviews almost every week. They then went and adopted from abroad and the entire process took a mere few days! The system in Japan is terrible. It’s like the system is telling mothers to throw your baby in the garbage or kill then rather than leave them in baby hatches / adoption centers! The officials just don’t want to deal with the adoption process so make it near impossible for people to adopt as well as mothers to give up child for adoption. End result is that newborn babies are killed! THE BLAME RESTS ON THE PATHETIC SYSTEM IN JAPAN!

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

As far as the adoption process goes, it's the same in many countries. They go through your financials, they go make you attend classes, get certified in CPR, draw maps of the exits, ensure sufficient bedroom size, background check, etc.

The last one is very important—makes sure the adopter is not gonna have funny business with the adoptee.

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More posts and education about this hatch, even other posters in this site have voted comments down because they don't understand Japan already has a baby hatch (and needs more!)

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I once met a Japanese woman who worked with an orphanage in Japan and she explained to me the shame around orphans and orphanages in such a way she could have been talking about lepers and leper colonies of old. She wouldn't even give me a hint as to the location of the orphanage that served our prefecture.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

It's a shame that adoption or fostering is so uncommon in Japan. Too many unwanted kids grow up in institutions without a real family.

It's a little difficult to find comparable data, but I've read that about 30,000 children in Japan live in care homes compared to about 80,000 in England (with about half of Japan's population).

Regarding adoption, while formal adoption may be uncommon, I think intra-family adoption is fairly widespread (e.g. someone taking in a sibling's kid). I'm thinking of two cases I know of in my wife's family.

I'd be happy if someone can point to more accurate data.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Adoption, like most things in Japan, is a bureaucratic nightmare.

Why make things easy and accesible, when you can pretend to be "responsible" by adding hundreds of unnecessary steps that cost time and money?

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I need to clarify. I’m referring to the state run adoption, where you don’t need to pay a donation. If you go through a religious adoption organization and pay a non refundable “donation” of upwards of 10M yen, the process is quicker but the children tend to be older. One Catholic adoption organization in Ochanomizu said the children were on average 6 - 8 yo. My wife and I were like that’s fine. But then they told us we cannot talk or meet the child in person until after the adoption process was completed. I think my wife cursed at the nun and walked out and I had to follow suit.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A much needed oasis of humanity in a cold uncaring city.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I really don't understand why politicians and other nutters in this country -- which is rapidly aging and doesn't have the kids to make up the slack by any means -- prefers corpses in coin lockers, toilets, dumpsters, and parking lots to a baby being dropped off safely. There should be a baby hatch AT LEAST in every major city in the nation.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

GaijinjlandToday  08:03 am JST

Anyone ever try adopting in Japan? There are thousands of couples and they make you go to weeks of parenting classes, even if you already have natural children at home. They go through your financial records, the process takes years and years and most prospective parents give up because they make it so difficult.

What a bunch of rubbish. My wife and I adopted twice in Japan. We did not go through weeks of parenting classes, but this is a good idea. The process took about a year for our son, and about eight weeks for our daughter. I did the filing at family court myself for our daugter, our second Japanese adoption. I don't know who the "they" Gaijinland refers to is, but it is certainly not the Japanese government or the family court.

Kumamoto's Jikei Hospital performs a vital service. I lived in Fukuoka 15 years ago when Jikei opened the baby hatch. I am glad it serves women who don't know what to do when they unexpectedly have a baby. So much better than throwing a baby in a trash can or taking it to a pond and drowning it or the woods and abandoning it.

Adopting works in Japan. It is not as difficult as some people think. We know of several other families who have adopted in Japan, both Japanese families and foreign families living in Japan. Don't believe everything naysayers say. Plenty of people, like in Aesop's fable, are like the fox who called the grapes sour when he couldn't figure out ho to get them.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Oh the irony, a catholic hospital with a religious doctrine that strictly opposes abortion and women's rights, offers this arrangement.

As they say, let’s unpack this and then chuck it in the bin - and not for recyclables.

(1) This Catholic hospital in Kumamoto accepts babies who would otherwise be left somewhere to die. Do you support child abandonment?

(2) It offers medical advice to the mother leaving the child. Do you oppose the mother receiving medical care if needed?

(3) It offers anonymity to the woman, but also retains information confidentially which would assist the child to locate its mother in the future - if the woman volunteers the information. Do you oppose anonymity for the woman or the ability of the child, once grown, to locate its birth mother?

If you believe that a woman has a right to kill her unborn child, then, yes, I can most definitely understand why you think the Catholic Church opposes that particular “right”. However, the Catholic Church supports the right of a child to be born. Do you support that right?

And lastly, there is no irony at all here. You need to get yourself a new dictionary app.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Christian progressive ideas such as you don´t judge people if you are no better or need to help anyone because one day you´ll need help too has not yet reached Japan.

So you get ideas like you are worthless if not in the system or the total lack of empathy to foreigners or even your neighbours.

Such culture choices lead to depopulation for Japan right now where you get politicians begging women to have children while offering them hardships outside this hatch.

In my home country, this problem has been long solved by allowing any woman to give birth anonymously if ever under harsh need, without judgment.

More hatches needed, some kids will find back their mothers. One life saved this way is a miracle.

Let also abortion be totally accessible in Japan to avoid dramatic issues. It is complementary.

Happy to have "found" when I was 36 a brother 12 years older than me. My mom could give him away under difficult circumstances. I will be going for holidays first time in my life with him next week and he is a so nice person...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Whereas I totally respect those of all religions, some of the teachings and beliefs of the Catholic Church and what is leads to beggars belief sometimes in the 21st Century.

I have a good friend who just managed to escape sexual abuse at a Catholic School and has some horror stories to tell.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

A mother might not want an abortion but is also unable to have the child. The baby hatch solves some problems but not all of them.

So what do these Catholics do with the babies? Hand them over to state welfare. The church does not have a good history with babies born out of wedlock. Ireland and Canada?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Whereas I do fully support these baby hatches as they do of course save the lives of babies that might othet be left to die somewhere, I can't help wondering that with easier access to the Morning after pill, and state aided abortions for those in financial difficulty then a good percentage of these unwanted babies wouldn't end up here to start with.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The real reason Japan is at 116 on the world gender rankings and is I think the lowest in East Asia, despite being among the most economically powerful, are the feudal attitudes to women laid bare in this story. It still never fails to shock when you read about the consequences of these inhumane ideas. What is heartening is that the Catholic organisation that has run the baby hatch system for 15 years is trying to address the immediate crisis facing newborns, as well as trying to support the mothers, and even trying to prevent some of the situations arising in the first place, all in a caring, non-judgemental way.

And for those surprised that it is a Catholic organisation doing this, maybe you never heard of liberation theology? This has been a powerful current within the church dating back at least to the 1960's, and having a powerful impact on many young, idealistic and humanistic priests and nuns, particularly in the Americas, many of whom have been in the lead in progressive social activism across the continent.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

A Catholic does not have to doggedly follow the Catholic Church interpretation of the scriptures

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Thank you Jikei hospital!!

You are pro-life!

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Remarkable that a country that in a depopulation crisis, turns its nose up at fostering or adoption.

What is so depressing is Jikei hospital baby hatch, offers the only alternative other than unwanted new born babies are flushed down the toilet, dumped in the road/or a wheelie bin.

Hasuda, too, feels society often prefers to blame women rather than help them.

"Society's motivation to sympathize with them or help them out seems to be low, if not completely non-existent," he said.

Is it any wonder the country is depopulating into extinction.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

I'm just sad for the Japanese women who find themselves ostracized by an archaic patriarchal moral code.

Time for a female Japanese PM.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

The family register system is archaic and should be aboloshed.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Having been in this situation as a baby in wartime london, I can see the advantages of such an easy to use organisation like this. When legislation was eventually passed requiring child welfare societies to give details of parents to children when they grew up, I was able to contact my birth mother, and I and my family finally met her. While it was a bit of a non-event, as she wanted no further contact in case her family found out that I existed, later on I found my half-sister and now have another family; all good!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

The article says one reason this happens is because the mothers were abused by their own parents. It doesn't say what type of abuse but it's not farfetched to think that the best and maybe only sure fire way to protect the children from for instance the grandfather abusing her too would be to give up the baby. Hopefully their foster system isn't as full of abuse as the U.S. one is.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Oh the irony, a catholic hospital with a religious doctrine that strictly opposes abortion and women's rights, offers this arrangement.

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

My sister and i were both adopted in the 60's from different mothers

Perhaps your trying to say adopted " by" different mothers as obviously you and your sister share the same mother.

Technically speaking it wouldn't be your mother either since they adopted you.

Or perhaps you were both adopted by different mothers and decided to call each other sisters.

Either way it makes no sense!

-16 ( +0 / -16 )

My sister and I were both adopted in the '60s from different mothers in the US. She eventually felt the need to find her birth mother and did, though it was a complicated process. By amazing coincidence, I once found myself sitting next to a woman who works for the adoption agency I was adopted through, which has a very cute name: the New England Home for Little Wanderers. (She gave me her card, but I never contacted her; I've just never felt the need.)

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Considering the amount of babies dumped in the trash, public toilets and coin lockers there is a need for these hatches in every major city. There have been 161 babies left at the hatch since it opened. What is the total amont of babies dumped in the trash nationally during the same period?

19 ( +23 / -4 )


babies relinquished to hatches can never be traced to their (biological) parents

The following quote from the article seems to contradict what you wrote:

As a result, around 80 percent later learned their family's identity, and 20 percent have returned to parents or relatives.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Anyone ever try adopting in Japan? There are thousands of couples and they make you go to weeks of parenting classes, even if you already have natural children at home. They go through your financial records, the process takes years and years and most prospective parents give up because they make it so difficult.

8 ( +23 / -15 )

I know many adopted children. My best friend for instance. It’s love and stability they need. There should be more of these, it’s a shame.

24 ( +26 / -2 )

A better solution than baby hatches would be improving support services to vulnerable women and their children.

Unlike adoption, babies relinquished to hatches can never be traced to their parents; the emotional cost of this should not be under-estimated.

-12 ( +12 / -24 )

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