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No. of long-term orphanage residents on the rise

16 Comments

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said in a recent report that of the children who are forced to live in orphanages after experiencing neglect and abuse, 40% have been living in an orphanage for five years or longer, while the number of children 12 years and older who reside in such facilities has exceeded 2,000.

In February 2013, the ministry conducted a survey of the approximately 48,000 children who live with either foster families or in orphanages, in an effort to learn about the current state of the welfare, TBS reported. According to the results, the number of children living in orphanages was 29,979. Of this group, 12,414, or approximately 41%, had been living there for five years or longer, while the number of children that had been living there 12 years and longer was 12,414 or 7%.

In both categories, the ministry reported increased percentages when compared to a previous study conducted in 2008.

Furthermore, the survey highlighted that although the percentage of young infants who return to their guardians is 23, the number of children who actually get adopted or remain in foster care is only 9%. Overall, the percentage of children who have remained and will likely continue to remain in orphanages has risen to 62%, TBS reported.

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It's a sad story that in this country which supposedly prides itself on the social services it provides to the people that parents are forced to place their own children in these facilities. The country should be ashamed that it can not provide better assistance to parents to help them keep their children and families together.

Sure there are plenty of cases where the parents just plain out abandon their children, because of their own selfishness and those folks should be flogged.

Oh this along with no real chance of adoption, these children are going to grow up with no families.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

One of the problems is that parents still keep the legal gardianship of the orphans which means that the children can't be adopted. The legal infrastructure needs a total overhaul.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

This news update is unfortunate. I think this story is only symbolic of what life is like for many children and adolescents in Japan: alone, neglected, and maybe abused. It's sad. But what does Japan treasure and put work into? Families? Children? The government and social services? No... It's work. Long, arduous, extreme work. I'm not saying all of the Japanese people put their emphasis and time on work, because there are some great Japanese parents who go all out for their kids. But until the Japanese majority recognize that there is something greater than jobs, work, and money, the state of affairs won't change.

These neglected children will be the future of Japan. What will they put their time and effort towards? Where will their priorities lie?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Governments should be paying adopters to adopt, and keep paying even after adoption, but instead adopters have to pay large fees and costs (up to $50K) and wait months or years.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yes - a sad state of affairs. Close friends of mine - a Japanese couple - tried for years to adopt. They have money, beautiful home and were loving respected people in the community.

They visited an orphanage many times and established a friendship with a 6 year old girl. Over a couple of years this developed into a deeper relationship with day trips and overnight stays. The girls parents were not alive. They tried desperately to formally adopt her, but were rejected by the girls aunt. The reason - she couldn't bear the thought of "foreign blood ie. not family" raising her niece so she wouldn't give the necessary family consent.

So - disillusioned my friends gave up on the whole idea of adoption and the little girl remained institutionalized. She would be an adult now. I often thought how cruel a system this was.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Do Japanese people ever give their two cents on any of these ridiculous issues and try to change them??? I thought so. Japan isn`t for the weak minded.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I would gladly adopt, unconditionally. These children form part of the future too. They are in great need of security and love. Without it, they will simply isolate themselves mentally from the world even more.J-Gov must implement rigid guidelines between parents and guardians to benefit the welfare of these children.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The reason - she couldn't bear the thought of "foreign blood ie. not family" raising her niece so she wouldn't give the necessary family consent.

I have seen this in a similar case. It seems that this is one of the main reasons why we see kids like the one you mentioned stuck in limbo. If the aunt doesn't want "foreign blood" raising her niece, then why doesn't she step up and do it? If she can't afford to do so, then she should do what is best for the child, and not her selfish desires. The girl in your story had to suffer all because a relative didn't want to help out.

In many cases, couples who can't have children don't want to adopt, since they have those same feelings of "foreign blood" in their family. But when you do research on some of the historical figures in Japan, you would find that some samurai's or warlords "adopted" some people into their family having them take their name and pass down their inheritance. Over the generations, the "adopted" people somehow became part of the original samurai's "blood line."

Probably the only way this will change, is if someone who has survived the current system makes it to the top in J-gov and tries to make changes in the system. But, I doubt that this will happen knowing the hassles that they would have to face from being raised in an orphange.

But then, at the same time we see stories of relatives being duped into giving money to strangers who say they are relatives (close relatives) and one of the reasons why this is so rampant is because in some cases, the families are not really keeping in touch with each other and makes this easier to happen. Yet, those very same victims who don't have much of a tie with their supposed family members and are duped, are probably the same ones who look down on adoption and "foreign blood."

Japan is interesting at times.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

For the care of children, Japan must rank among developing countries; a country that cares so little for abandoned or orphaned children and doesn't allow for visitation rights to divorced parents can not be regarded as 'developed'.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

These orphanages are a form of child abuse. Children raised in orphanages show lower IQ scores, higher rates of mental problems and a host of other social and physical problems than children who are raised in foster care or adopted.

And if you're a bottom line type of person then consider that it costs about 10 times more to put a child in an orphanage than to pay a foster family. Foster families aren't ideal, but they're considerably better for the child than orphanages, cheaper for the taxpayer and everyone wins.

... but orphanages persist, an outmoded anachronism that hurts children and costs the taxpayer more than is necessary.

In Japan, with its "guarantor" system things are even worse. Young adults who come out of these institutions can't get credit cards, can't get student loans (the percentage of orphans who go to university is 300% lower than in the general population), and often can't even get jobs because many Japanese companies still place a lot of emphasis on family.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Sad story brownie, what a waste!

It pains me but here we see yet another thing about Japan that is so obviously in need of dire fixing/improvement but alas Japans most vulnerable not thrown under the bus but left there!

This whole blood this is truly primitive & often despicable.............................

More reasons why I am glad I didn't grow up here & have no kids, Japan could so easily to SO much better but continues to take the low/stupid roads on so many aspects of life, again what a waste!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

(the percentage of orphans who go to university is 300% lower than in the general population)

Some people have only a passing acquaintance with math, I guess... "300% lower" puts any number into negative territory so it's unlikely for a number of participants. Being "3 times as low as" would mean people raised in orphanages represent 25% of the population of students, which would be great since the percentage of children in orphanages out of total number of children is probably much lower than that. I have no idea whence this funky statistics came from, but better start by going back to studying fractions and percentages...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

LucreziaJan. 22, 2015 - 12:22PM JST Some people have only a passing acquaintance with math, I guess... "300% lower" puts any number into negative territory so it's unlikely for a number of participants.

Not 300 percentage points, but 300% lower. There's a difference, that anyone with more than "a passing acquaintance with math" would know. Sadly so many people just don't understand the difference between percentages and percentage points.

Being "3 times as low as" would mean people raised in orphanages represent 25% of the population of students,

Actually only 55% to 60% of Japanese high school graduates go to University (the variance depending on the year in question).

which would be great since the percentage of children in orphanages out of total number of children is probably much lower than that.

I am amused that someone who clearly doesn't understand mathematics and percentages also clearly cannot understand English.

"(T)he percentage of orphans who go to university" does NOT mean that 20% of the University student population of Japan are orphans. It means that only 20% of orphans who graduate from high school go on to study at University.

I have no idea whence this funky statistics came from, but better start by going back to studying fractions and percentages...

These statistics come from a variety of sources, some from MEXT (total university entrants per year), some from a TEDx talk by Michael Maher-King (percentage of orphans who go to University).

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Sad, I always feared being alone as a child, I wish that fate on no one

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Even if they can't adopt them, the society could try to be friendlier to them. Maybe they could have days when the community women could come in and mother the children. There must be plenty of women in Japan who have a maternal need, but no children. The children would probably really enjoy it. "Visit the Orphanage Day." My mother was Japanese and such a good caregiver to us. Always we were fed, clean and our grades in school, for the most part, exceptional. However, we were POOR. So, being poor is not necessarily a problem.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Frungy

Awesome!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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