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Thousands languishing in children's homes in Japan: Human Rights Watch

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It is simply not a common practice here to adopt children. People would rather spend millions in funinchiryo... How sad.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Sad.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

So much beyond our control. If child turns monstrous, would be more endurable if own blood. Could retaliate if not own blood.

-21 ( +2 / -23 )

Salus, I agree, and it is a sad case. I have no idea why Japanese are so fixated on "new." Same with animals, they won't adopt a pet, but will spend huge amounts of money to buy the breed that is in fashion. With society aging, Japan really needs to overhaul its system regarding child care and education. It's ridiculous and sad to see a child who has only a junior high school education out in the work force doing manual labor, possibly for the rest of his life. There is no safety net and whatever is considered a safety net as in the case of this article is seriously lacking and not in line with what a "developed" nation should have.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Do they allow foreign couples or mixed (foreigner+Japanese) couples to foster or adopt children here? Don't laugh at my question, I'm serious.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

To be honest one of the main problems is that there are not enough children to adopt.

That may sound contradictory, as there are many children in care, but actually parents are able to maintain all parental rights and benefits, while their child is living in a childrens home. This means the kids can not be adopted to a loving family. There ARE people who want to adopt, for sure. But after a child has been languishing in a home for years, it becomes too hard for both the adopter and the adoptee.

I suggest a change in the law - if you put your child in a childrens home (because you cant or wont care for him) then after a set amount of time you lose your parental rights.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Japanese don t care about the fates of individuals. One of the few countries where you don't start conversation with something about if you are OK. Also, they are simply not interested in learning about others in general. So they decide to close their eyes. I see it regularly because even if your face tells you are worried, they just focus on professional stuff only.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

@QueenBee Hall im guessing they would if the child is of mixed blood, but as for a foreigner adopting a Japanese child, im guessing theyd say that this is not a good setting and should be done by Japanese parents only. foreginer bringing up a Japanese child in Japan.. could understand/teach the complex Japanese culture. No!?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Japanese talk about love and watch tv shows filled with cheap sentiment, but in real life those emotions are swept away in the face of "difficult coversations", "it's inconvenient to explain", or "I'd be ashamed". They would rather leave these poor innocent children in misery and sadness, doomed to a life of poverty than face the "shame" of allowing them to go to familes that want them. No wonder Japan is dying. And when a Japanese/American family I know tried to adopt one of these kids (to be raised in Japan along with their other kids), they were told it was...wait for it..."difficult", and " nothing can be done". The kid is still locked up in the tender care of people who see him as inconvenient debris.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

@wtfjapan - I know a few couples (both fully western and a japanese spouse/western spouse arrangement) who have adopted children in Japan.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Folks should just go to the local children's home and visit for a few hours after the kids come back from school. Maybe even get a group to go, call ahead first and bring pot luck once a week. It only takes one person to make a difference in kids lives.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Every year in Japan, around 7000 apply to adopt or foster a child. However, only around 300 children a year are actually adopted. Its a sad state of affairs...

Could you imagine if 3500 children were adopted every year? That would be a wonderful improvement.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Almost 90% of children taken from their families in Japan end up in institutions rather than foster care, a rights group says, expressing shock at the rate—the highest among developed nations.

No one who really understands Japan is shocked at this. Maybe the absolute percentage, but not the fact that Japan leads the pack in this disgraceful area. My god, over 40% points higher than #2. And the reasons are clearly stated in the article:

“In Japan, the interests of the parents is seen as more important than the interests of the child,” the report quoted one care worker as saying.

“Japan’s childcare policymakers are allowing bureaucratic priorities to get in the way of finding alternative care that is in the child’s best interest,” Doi said.

It is better to allow thousands of kids to waste away in institutions than embarass the parents, right? And compassion is not a word that either Japanese politicians or bureaucrats appear to have in their vocabulary. I have said many times that Japan is truly a country without a soul, and this is just more confirmation of that.

4 ( +14 / -10 )

Very depressing - but not unexpected here. I was reading recently some accounts of the conditions in these miserable institutions: violence against the younger kids is endemic, as well as sexual assaults. There is no love in these orphanages. Whilst the foster-child system is not perfect, it is million times better than the alternative and provides a loving family environment for the children. I doubt even international shaming will force Japanese politicians to improve this situation, however.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Very sad that children are treated this way here. Just another "lift the veil of J-tatemae," and something truly ugly comes into view.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I know a few couples (both fully western and a japanese spouse/western spouse arrangement) who have adopted children in Japan.

Was the westerner a naturalized Japanese citizen?

If the authorities were serious about fixing this problem, they would create public service advertisments and commercials to let people know about the need for foster families. They would do more to create a system that can more easily and efficiently evaluate foster homes and potential families for adoption. I know many people who have tried to adopt and gave up after finding the hurdles too high to jump over.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Very sad indeed, but as other posters have said, unfortunately not all that surprising. I'm not a Japan-basher by any means and think that Japan and Japanese culture have many positive things to offer, but when the default behavior is to avoid talking about something that is uncomfortable and with the pervasive cultural norm of 'uchi soto', ('inside group' / 'outside group'), most Japanese unfortunately do not care enough about (or are too apprehensive about) helping others outside of their immediate circle.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

My son got taken twice into care.

1st time he was living with his mom, I arranged that but the shelter was bad and luckily short stay.

2nd time he was living with me and I had to have multi- month stay, great Christian run facility with visitation rights.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Was the westerner a naturalized Japanese citizen?

No! But they were long term residents of Japan. (Both western.)

I would love to adopt. I hear its actually easier from overseas than doing it from within Japan though, which is just insane to me.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Just want to put in my 2 cents : my Japanese female friend works at such as facility, taking care of kids who for some reason cannot be taken care of by their parents. She is devoted to her job, although it does seem like a tough job. She came to my housewarming party last year and I could immediately tell that she is really good with kids and genuinely loves kids. My older daughter is notoriously shy around strangers but she opened up to her after only 30 minutes (this is extremely rare). I'm sure there are places that are less than ideal, but I would like to point out that the people working there really care about their work and often choose their profession because they would like to help such children.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Adoption in Japan is a lengthy and expensive process. Foster is care not promoted as an option and foster careers receive very little assistance from the government, which makes it very unattractive for people to get involved in foster care. The reason foster care is so successful in Australia is due to the government and welfare support, which makes it attractive for careers to give a kid a chance.

That naive comment above about children become monstrous really annoys me. Children are not born bad! They are made bad by bad parents!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

A breeding ground for Yakuza recruits. Shameful abuse of kids.

-3 ( +4 / -8 )

I volunteer at a children's home. Firstly, to all those people ranting about how bad the homes and staff are, go and volunteer. You'll see that they actually do an awesome job with very little, and that by volunteering you can help a lot.

Second, I looked into "adoption" in Japan and it isn't actually adoption at all. A better word would be "fostering". The parents never lose their rights to the child, so the child can live with you for ten years and then one day the parent can turn up to take them back. This is the real reason no-one wants to "adopt" in Japan, because it isn't adoption and the stories I've heard from the staff at the children's home are heart-breaking.

I can understand that the courts in Japan want to give the parents time to get their act together, and don't want to be like the U.K. system where you can lose your child forever simply because you have the bad luck of being a single parent who needs to be hospitalised for a lengthy period and you don't have any relatives to take the child in. However I don't understand why genuinely abusive parents don't lose all rights to their child.

1 ( +15 / -14 )

good info fungy. country is ran by people who also have no emotions and empathy. what you expect from law makers? pure shocking if you read into family law here.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

If child turns monstrous, would be more endurable if own blood. Could retaliate if not own blood.

And this sums up the pathetic attitudes many locals have about adoption.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Second, I looked into "adoption" in Japan and it isn't actually adoption at all. A better word would be "fostering". The parents never lose their rights to the child, so the child can live with you for ten years and then one day the parent can turn up to take them back.

Actually, there are two types of adoption:

The first one would be what is called 'regular adoption' in Japanese (普通養子縁組). This is very similar to being a foster parent in that the original parent retains parental rights.

The second one would be what is called 'special adoption' in Japanese (特別養子縁組). In this case, the original parent lose all parental rights and parental rights go to the new adoption parents This is similar to what people refer to as adoption in other countries.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I also volunteer at one of the homes here in Fukuoka where the children live in wonderful conditions and are well cared for by a loving staff. They are even better dressed than the average Japanese child. Our group have been going there as English teachers for over seven years and have never seen anything but happy well treated kids. When the courts agree that the children can be returned to their families most of the them would rather stay at the center than return to the abuse and/ or neglect from where they came. All of the children go to high school and some on to collage or university. Lions clubs and other groups arrange for exchange programs for the high school age group to go abroad during the summer. As for adopting I know of several foreign couples who have adopted and others who foster.....don't criticize what you don't know or understand....there are many terrible tales of abuse in the foster system in the US but you will never hear that here as foster parents are chosen carefully...it is better for the the children to be in a safe environment than in another abusive situation where some one can make extra money just by taking in a bunch of kids. ..... Yes, it's more profitable than teaching English!!! Y100,000 a month for every child you foster so it is necessary to make sure the foster parents are not taking advantage of the system...... if you love children and would like to help out check into your local children's welfare centers and you will find they can always use more volunteers.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

So these kids suffer basically just because of adults' greed, laziness and/or selfishness.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

.....don't criticize what you don't know or understand... followed by you will never hear that here as foster parents are chosen carefully... Oh dear. I have no doubt there are many amazing foster parents here but making such a statement like the one you did is mindblowing. Sadly, crappy foster parents and blood related parents are not just one country or culture's problem. I'd stay away from making blanket statements like the one above.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

No! But they were long term residents of Japan. (Both western.)

I am not sure what I wrote that warranted an exclamation point after the 'no'. I was just curious. I believe that in the case of adoption in Japan by couples of Japanese and non-Japanese citizen that the adopted child goes on the family register of the Japanese parent. That is why I was asking. It was not that I did not believe you. I've actually met several international couples where the non-Japanese took Japanese citizenship in order to more easily adopt a child in Japan.

I also volunteer at one of the homes here in Fukuoka where the children live in wonderful conditions and are well cared for by a loving staff.

Absolutely. I also do work for a home for children and it is very rewarding. I highly recommend for people to consider volunteering some time at one. The kids and the people that work with them are amazing.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Every child needs a mentor, someone to look up to and emulate...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

slumdogMay. 04, 2014 - 12:15PM JST Actually, there are two types of adoption: The first one would be what is called 'regular adoption' in Japanese (普通養子縁組). This is very similar to being a foster parent in that the original parent retains parental rights. The second one would be what is called 'special adoption' in Japanese (特別養子縁組). In this case, the original parent lose all parental rights and parental rights go to the new adoption parents This is similar to what people refer to as adoption in other countries.

That is correct, but the staff at the local children's home told me that "special adoption" is almost never granted. You need the permission of the family court, and the family court always consults the child's birth parent(s), and if they have any hopes of reasserting their parental rights at a later date the application is denied. There are also strict age limits on this type of adoption.

It is theoretically possible, but for all practical purposes it isn't really a possibility unless the child is very young and has no living relatives. I looked for some stats on this, but the government doesn't seem to publish stats on this topic, so I just have to take the word of the people who work in the field. That's why I didn't mention it earlier, because it seems to exist only under very specific conditions, and so realistically "adoption" in Japan is the first type, which more "fostering" than adoption.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

QueenBee Hall: Do they allow foreign couples or mixed (foreigner+Japanese) couples to foster or adopt children here?

Yes, they do. You can adopt even if both parents are non-Japanese.

Frungy: That's why I didn't mention it earlier, because it seems to exist only under very specific conditions, and so realistically "adoption" in Japan is the first type, which more "fostering" than adoption.

Yes, adoption, as it would be understood by most people from Europe or North America, is a long and onerous process in Japan but it is not true that "special adoption is almost never granted". I, along with a few posters here, know couples, non-Japanese in my case, who have done so and we are but a small number so one could reasonably guess that the actual number is larger. One thing to keep in mind too is that a lot of Japanese who do adopt keep it quiet and will go so far as to have the woman move to her parents hometown during her "pregnancy" so that her friends and neighbors don't know that she isn't actually pregnant. A few years ago The Japan Times did a very good story on the whole process and mentioned that a lot of adoptions are what would be called "hospital adoptions" which occur when the child is newly born. In that respect, I don't think Japanese are so unlike people in many countries who prefer to adopt infants despite their being harder to come by and despite many older children living in institutions.

Seirei Tobimatsu: So much beyond our control. If child turns monstrous, would be more endurable if own blood. Could retaliate if not own blood.

Your comment is sad and showed a ridiculous degree of ignorance and small mindedness. I hope you don't actually believe what you've written.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It is theoretically possible, but for all practical purposes it isn't really a possibility unless the child is very young and has no living relatives. I looked for some stats on this, but the government doesn't seem to publish stats on this topic, so I just have to take the word of the people who work in the field.

This is correct. As a rule, only children under 6 years of age can be adopted as special adopted children in Japan (under 8 years of age if the child had already been in the home since before he/she was under 6 years of age). You are correct, the number that are adopted under special adoptions is not very many. In 2011, there were 374 cases. From 2002 to 2009, special adoptions made up less than 1% of total adoptions (regular adoptions). The general thinking in Japan is that, if possible, it is best for children to be with their original parents. However, I agree with you that there are certain situations where this is not the best solution and that goes for children over the age of 6 as well. There have been too many cases of children being put back in homes that continued to be unhealthy for them.

Hopefully articles like this will have at least two positive effects: One, more people will volunteer at childrens homes and two, people will start to see that the adoption system should be reviewed with an eye on improving it to allow more children to be placed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

ambrosiaMay. 04, 2014 - 01:09PM JST

Frungy: That's why I didn't mention it earlier, because it seems to exist only under very specific conditions, and so realistically "adoption" in Japan is the first type, which more "fostering" than adoption.

Yes, adoption, as it would be understood by most people from Europe or North America, is a long and onerous process in Japan but it is not true that "special adoption is almost never granted". I, along with a few posters here, know couples, non-Japanese in my case, who have done so and we are but a small number so one could reasonably guess that the actual number is larger. One thing to keep in mind too is that a lot of Japanese who do adopt keep it quiet and will go so far as to have the woman move to her parents hometown during her "pregnancy" so that her friends and neighbors don't know that she isn't actually pregnant. A few years ago The Japan Times did a very good story on the whole process and mentioned that a lot of adoptions are what would be called "hospital adoptions" which occur when the child is newly born. In that respect, I don't think Japanese are so unlike people in many countries who prefer to adopt infants despite their being harder to come by and despite many older children living in institutions.

I did a bit more searching, and the only stats I can find are more than a decade out of date.

This source (http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/gaiko/jido/0111/11a_036.html) shows that in 2000 of 534 adoptions only 34 were "special adoptions". That's only 6.4% of adoptions being what Western people would consider "adoption", while 93.6% are fostering arrangements. This source (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2013/09/30/issues/cultural-and-legal-hurdles-block-path-to-child-adoptions-in-japan/#.U2XAkihIoxE) states that there are about 7000 applications for adoption, which means that out of 7000 applications only 534 are approved. Of those approved 500 are fostering arrangements (7.1%) and 34 are adoptions (0.5%).

I think that my local children's home staff had it right, a 0.5% chance of a special adoption being approved fits within what I'd consider "almost never".

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This source (http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/gaiko/jido/0111/11a_036.html) shows that in 2000 of 534 adoptions only 34 were "special adoptions". That's only 6.4% of adoptions being what Western people would consider "adoption", while 93.6% are fostering arrangements.

I thought your numbers were high, so I checked your source. The numbers you quoted are for children of international adoptions. The numbers I quoted were for domestic adoptions and they are even lower than the numbers you quoted. So, ambrosia, although you have friends who have done it, as have I, it is still much less rare than in many other countries.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Thanks for all the positive posts (about the kids and the facilities, for the most part). I have looked into adoption and the red tape was so thick I didn't bother looking again, but you guys have made me want to look into at least volunteering. Is there a general website that will guide you to nearby homes?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

smithinjapan,

Is there a general website that will guide you to nearby homes?

Thank you for asking. I can't believe I did not think of linking it earlier.

Here is a helpful site with listings.

http://www.date-naoto.com/

3 ( +4 / -1 )

National pride keeps these children from being adopted overseas. Japan is much more nationalistic than you think. They just don't talk about these things, but the administrators think of issues like national pride.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

slumdog: much obliged. I'll definitely check it out. It would be nice to do some volunteering.

Sir_Edgar: "National pride keeps these children from being adopted overseas."

If that were the case, there would still be a higher rate of them being adopted at home. The fact is merely that the laws are so strict and the red tape so thick that it is much, much easier to get a child, and in particular an infant, from other nations, and the people here don't want something 'used'.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The use of the word "languishing" in the headline seems a bit overwrought to me, brings up images of underfed kids chained to the wall or listlessly lounging around or something. I do agree that changes are needed for the overall system to get more kids out of institutions and into family homes and, just like care facilities for the elderly, there is a range of quality from excellent to borderline evil. But in the institutions for kids who can't be cared for by family that I am familiar with, the kids are hardly languishing. They are busy going to school and participating in constant activities of all sorts from Christmas parties and events for all the traditional Japanese holidays and festivals to learning to raise vegetables and flowers and cook. The facilities are supported by many local organizations that donate time and items such as school and art supplies. There is also a system of mentors who help older kids who are leaving find jobs, keep in touch and give them advice and support.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I made a couple of typing errors above. Just to correct them:

So, ambrosia, although you have friends who have done it, as have I, it is still much rarer than in many other countries

I thought your numbers were high, so I checked your source.

I'm sure everyone could figure it out, but this should have said the percentages were high, not the numbers.

The use of the word "languishing" in the headline seems a bit overwrought to me, brings up images of underfed kids chained to the wall or listlessly lounging around or something.

I agree. They were probably trying to put a feeling of urgency into the headline, but I agree it does not match with the reality of childrens homes in Japan.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

slumdog: So, ambrosia, although you have friends who have done it, as have I, it is still much less rare than in many other countries.

I don't doubt that but I also mentioned "hospital adoptions" which may not be included in official statistics since, according to the article I mentioned, they are very "hush-hush" affairs. Regardless, I don't think the reason is, as some poster would like us to believe, that Japanese are cold and heartless. It's not the norm here for a variety of reasons and even if you want to adopt you face institutional and social hurdles that would keep many of us, Japanese or otherwise, from doing so. My husband is not from Japan and not from a country where people are cold or heartless, if there is really such a place, but he also has, what I consider to be somewhat peculiar ideas about adoption, as do many of his countrymen with whom we've discussed it. The idea that adoption is a normal, beautiful thing about which people can be open is a relatively new concept even in many European countries and North America. It wasn't so long ago that adoptions were very private affairs where even the adopted children might have gone their entire lives not knowing they were adopted and certainly adopting children after infancy wasn't the norm either. Hopefully bringing attention to the situation, in a positive manner, not a negative, accusatory one, can help to change ideas about adoption in Japan and those kids can end up with loving families rather than having to grow up in orphanages. No matter how nice those orphanages are, a loving family which can provide a safe, healthy and happy environment would be a better option.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I don't doubt that but I also mentioned "hospital adoptions" which may not be included in official statistics since, according to the article I mentioned, they are very "hush-hush" affairs.

Actually, those adoptions also come under the heading of special adoptions act from the late 1980's and follow the same rules as other special adoptions, ie: age of child, etc.

No matter how nice those orphanages are, a loving family which can provide a safe, healthy and happy environment would be a better option.

Absolutely, I doubt there is anyone that would disagree with you. Hopefully, doing this will become more efficient and easier someday.

Regardless, I don't think the reason is, as some poster would like us to believe, that Japanese are cold and heartless.

Here, I also agree. There are many people that would love to adopt. It is the present system that makes it difficult.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There's also a good write-up here (http://www.smilekidsjapan.org/lang/en/how-to/) on how to set up a volunteer programme if there isn't already one in your area.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

We'll said, ambrosia

BTW, Baby Pocket is a Japanese NPO that provides a place for pregnant women in difficulties and also facilitates the adoption process with the aim of keeping the babies out of institutions.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The article focuses on the high rate of children needing care being in institutions compared to foster care. But it doesn't compare absolute numbers across countries. The same Human Rights Watch report includes this footnote:

"Out of 10,000 children younger than 18 years old, there are 17 children in the alternative care in Japan in 2005. It is 102 children out of 10,000 in France in 2003, 66 in the U.S.in 2005, 55 in England in 2005, 49 in Australia in 2005. " ('alternative care' includes children in both foster care and children's homes) The original source of this data shows Japan having a significantly lower number of children in care than other countries in the study. 17 per 10,000 in Japan - the next lowest being 38 per 10,000 in Italy.

Also, the Human Rights Watch report mentions the lower than average educational achievement of children in care in Japan. But it is very close to average - e.g. 73% of children in care complete high school compared to 82% of the general population. (And if socio-economic backgrounds of the children were taken into account, I wonder if the figure is higher than average.) The following quote indicates a far bigger disparity in the UK: (from The Who Cares Trust website)

"Only 13.2% of children in care obtain five good GCSEs - compared with 57.9% of all children."

There's no need to be complacent, but I'm not sure its right to single out Japan in this way.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Iam sure there is lots of couples that just can't have children and would love to a child, so what is wrong with Japan? change your attitude! if there are lots of couples looking to adopt and there is children that would love to be adopted, make it happen! it a win win situation!!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Not that easy taking a child if a family registry, also anyone without a family registry is discriminated against.

Your history and how/where you grew up matters.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's another proud spastic for Japan, again No 1 in another poll. Good luck Japan, just the beginning you can top the polls in many 3rd world nations. Parents don't want these children nation does not need let them let them waist away.... Jesus

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Generally children in group care are older so they have more problems than children in kinship care of foster care. However children served in foster care and kinship care do not have significantly worse developmental and mental health conditions than children in group care. I believe children in institutional care may experience less chance of abuse or neglect while in care and also have fewer interpersonal experiences that support their well-being, including the chance to develop close relationships with a significant individual who will make a lasting, legal commitment to them. In the end I feel that young children fare better in family like setting such as a foster home than in institutional care.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It is possible to adopt in Japan with at least one parent being Japanese. They are looking for couples who have much love to give and are deemed to be able to look after a child if they meet certain criteria...Wa no kai group is a good place to start

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I think a well-run institution is better than most of the "foster care" families out there,

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Regardless, I don't think the reason is, as some poster would like us to believe, that Japanese are cold and heartless. It's not the norm here for a variety of reasons and even if you want to adopt you face institutional and social hurdles that would keep many of us, Japanese or otherwise, from doing so.

ambrosia -- huh? Don't you see the contradiction in what you are saying? You say that Japanese ae not cold and heartless, but then you say that even if you want to adopt you face "institutional and social hurdles. In my experience institutions and societies reflect the values of that culture. And Japan values the damn family registry and order over compassion and humanity. Sure there are a minority of Japanese who might see this problem, and want to change it. But the majority like the social order the way it is, and thus, hence, as a whole, Japan is cold and heartless.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Geoff Gibson -

it is possible to adopt in Japan with at least one parent being Japanese.

both you and your spouse can be non japanese and can adopt in Japan. i'm sure there are several ways to do this but one of the ways i know (and I have actually helped one foreign couple adopt a child in japan) is to visit a local children's home either on a regular basis or to have a child visit you on a regular basis like weekends, holidays, etc - you also have to take some courses (and here's one problem for non japanese speakers), those courses are conducted in japanese language - they say it's okay to bring an interpreter. you cannot pick a child and make him/her your own instantly - it takes time for both you and the child trust each other - but it's very much possible.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

the article also states that 77% in the u.s.a. end up in institutions. i always here stories of wealthy americans, especially actors, going overseas to adopt. i wonder why they aren't adopting in their own country ?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Just a story: my wife had learnt only when they were adults that one of her cousin had been adopted. In general, adoption is well hidden because considered shameful, as plenty other sensitive concepts. i have a cousin who was adopted too (in England) and always knew officially she was adopted. Different approaches... Is one better than the other ?

One important point: "love" here is of very little importance compare to most western countries, because of cultural and especially religious background. You get adopted in Japan not because of love and help a human but to get closer to the standards... Anyone knows of families with several adopted children ?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

What is the connection between this article about children languishing in children's homes and another article in today's Japan Today - Number of children in Japan falls to new low - about the declining birth rate

Ironic that these two articles are here on the same day. They both seem to show that children are generally unwanted liabilities in today's Japan. In many regards, Japan is not a child-friendly country. Apologies to all those doting grandparents we see.

My wife and I adopted two children when we were living in Japan. I know of another American family who adopted three siblings. Another American family has adopted two Japanese children and two American children and are raising them all in Japan. Adoption is not difficult if the children in children's homes are released for adoption when they are relatively young. As I said before, Japan in many regards is not a child-friendly country. It is sad.

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jerseyboy: ambrosia -- huh? Don't you see the contradiction in what you are saying? You say that Japanese ae not cold and heartless, but then you say that even if you want to adopt you face "institutional and social hurdles. In my experience institutions and societies reflect the values of that culture. And Japan values the damn family registry and order over compassion and humanity. Sure there are a minority of Japanese who might see this problem, and want to change it. But the majority like the social order the way it is, and thus, hence, as a whole, Japan is cold and heartless.

I suppose I can understand how you came to that conclusion but I simply have a hard time pegging a nation as cold and heartless. I think your average Japanese most likely has no idea how difficult adoption can be and probably spends little to no time thinking about it anyway. That might make them ignorant and apathetic but that's not the same as cold and heartless. For those who have considered adoption but decided against it, there may be a myriad of reasons, some of which may have to do with social or familial pressure. That might make them weak and susceptible but again, that's not the same as cold and heartless.

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