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Kumamoto baby hatch says it received 9 infants in fiscal 2012

20 Comments

Jikei Hospital, which offers to anonymously accept children from parents who feel they cannot raise their children, has released a report on the number of babies left in its baby hatch.

Jikei Hospital Board Chairman Taiji Hasuda said the catholic hospital's baby hatch received nine babies between April 2012 and March this year, TBS reported Thursday.

According to the hospital, seven of the mothers who put their babies into the hospital's care also provided their addresses. One of those was from Kumamoto, and this year for the first time a parent traveled from Hokkaido to seek help.

The hospital said that it received 17 infants in 2007, 25 in 2008, 15 in 2009, 18 in 2010, 8 in 2011, bringing the total to 92 since it started the service. It added that exactly half of the babies were male and half female.

Information taken from parents reveals that three of the children were born in Kyushu, two in the Chugoku region of western Honshu, one from Hokkaido, and two from undisclosed locations. Jikei said that new family registers were drawn up for the children by the Kumamoto city authorities, TBS reported.

Kumamoto City Mayor Seishi Koyama said, "We are beginning to see babies brought in from far afield and some for whom information about their place of birth was not provided. We are looking into the safety considerations around women driving long distances alone immediately after giving birth at home, as well as the legal issues surrounding individuals whose place of birth is unknown."

Over the years, people have left the babies at the hospital for some bizarre reasons. One woman left her baby there because she wanted to study abroad; in another case, a woman tried to use the hatch as a temporary babysitting service while she worked and, in a third case, a man who was given custody of his nephew, embezzled the boy's inheritance before abandoning him in the hatch. The system has been subject to misuse since its inception, after a man left a 3-year-old preschooler in the hatch on the day it opened.

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20 Comments
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Be nice if these "hatches" were available all throughout the country and better advertised too! Might save a few unnecessary infanticides.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

I guess it is rebound to Japanese thinking of "convenience".

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

I think hatches like this should be available in every prefecture in Japan. Too many parents kill their kids, for whatever reason in this country.

My biggest concern is what happens next - do they just dump the kids in an orphanage with no possibility of adoption until they hit adulthood? Or do kids abandoned in the hatch become property of the prefecture (and therefore have a realistic chance of adoption by another family in the future?)

At the moment, any parent can take their child to an orphanage and do essentially the same thing as this hatch - their parental rights will never be removed by court and the parents have no obligation to visit the child. They will never be removed from the families family register (as doing so would cause shame on the birth family.) These kids can be fostered but as the parents retain all rights over the child, can be removed at any time by the biological parents, meaning its not a very stable environment for the child or the foster parents.

I personally would like to see a campaign in Japan where courts start to forcibly remove the parental rights of parents of children in hatches and "orphanages"/childrens homes, to give these kids a chance of a better life through adoption.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I agree it would 'probably' save quite a few infants from a tortuous life or possibly even death if this system was made available nationally, but looking at the accounts of abuse of the system and the reasons given makes me sick to my stomach that this society has to have this system at all!

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

I think the baby hatch is necessary and I would like to see this implemented nationwide too. The thing is that although the drop-off is done 'anonymously' they will track you down afterwards, hence the details they have on the parent's in their yearly report....I truly hope these babies get adopted to loving homes, and not just fostered out or put in children's homes.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Seeing people trying to misuse the hatcheries just goes to prove that they're not ready to take the responsibility of being a parent. I'd rather see the children go to families that would appreciate them in their lives than those that would knowingly and in many cases unintentionally mistreat them.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

only 9?! where's the rest?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Put these hatches on mass order, please. As sad as it is to see a parent or parents give up their child because they feel they cannot take care of those they birth, it is FAR more preferable than reading about Joe Tanaka shaking his one month old baby to death because said baby won't stop crying, or about Ms. Hashimoto leaving her baby dead in a dumpster or shopping mall toilet stall while 'no one suspected' she was pregnant, etc.

Find these babies a loving home -- and there are indeed plenty who cannot have babies that would welcome them. The important thing is that they are alive.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I just wish and hope that they make adoption easy for families longing to have children if their own. I for one wish I could, but due to my age, I'm sure I will be refused( ; ; )

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The hatch should be the last straw and free (initially) open counseling is what Japan needs for pretty much every aspect of life from pregnancy, birth, education, bullying, work, stress, depression, family related troubles, accidents, suicide and death (family member or similar).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

this hospital doing good job. make it more as much. may this way parents stop killing there child's

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow, I am so glad to hear that at least one hospital in Japan has common sense. It is also great to hear people travel very far distances to ensure the safety of their child. It is always shocking to hear of infants being left in subway station lockers, in parks, etc.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan has orphanages in every prefecture and many of the orphanages take newborns. Most people don't know this. As one person said, more advertisement/education is needed to let mothers know about their options after birth.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What makes some of you think that the people who discard newborns in the trash, starve their infants at home, shake their babies to death out of annoyance, etc. would bother to use one of these baby hatches even if there was one at every neighborhood convenience store? You assume too much and give them credit for dormant humanity that I seriously doubt that they have...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sad situation - but a necessity, and saving precious lives. As Smith states, this facility should be expanded nationwide. I just pray these angels don't end up in the god-awful child-prisons here (aka. orphanages) but instead adopted by loving familes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Now if they could adapt a functioning adoption system...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The article concentrates only on the children coming IN and says nothing about what happens to them once the hospital gets their hands on the child. "Drawing up a new family register" sounds an awful lot like creating a fictitious family history.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Abandoning infants at hospitals is legal in every state in the United States under safe haven laws. As with the Hatch, which starts a new family registry for each child, these laws require the parents to relinquish their parental rights. Not surprisingly the reasons people give for their actions are as poignant and petty as they are in Japan. These laws were enacted in the U.S. for the very same reasons described in this article - large numbers of abandoned infants who died as a result. Thus this is not peculiar to Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese Government should offer Baby bonus to mother who has given birth the baby. It will increase Japanese population and abortion rate will drop. Also Hospital should offer in house free medical service for woman who intends to abandon her baby. So she can leave baby safely at Hospital and it will save child life.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

These kids should have a reunion when they're older: The 'Baby Hatch 9'! Good luck to all you little ones!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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