Kumamoto: Catholic hospital against TV series that discriminates against “abandoned children”

Posted on February 13, 2014. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death, Bullying, Orphanages | Tags: , , , |

01/31/2014 JAPAN

by Hisashi Yukimoto
Jikei Hospital leads the fight for life and the defence of children. In 2006, despite government opposition, it installed a “baby box” to stop abortions. Today, it slams a TV network for a controversial show that affects children abused and abandoned by their family.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) – In order to stop discrimination against abandoned children, the Jikei Catholic Hospital in the city of Kumamoto, southern Japan, has called on national broadcaster Nippon Television Network (NTN) to stop a weekly drama series that focuses on children abandoned at such health care facilities.

“What we are concerned about now is not just children among families in general but caring for the wounded hearts of children who were abused at their homes before they joined children’s care facilities,” the hospital said in a statement.

Titled Mama Ashita Ga Inai (Mamma won’t be here tomorrow), the drama series deals with violated childhood. “Among those who were abused are cases of those who cannot escape from the impacts of trauma.”

In the series, children are called “post” and “locker” for the places where they left by their mothers.

Another word is “donki”, or “blunt instrument” in Japanese, because in one episode a mother hits her boyfriend with such a tool and was arrested before her daughter was brought to live in a care facility.

However, such words “stick into the hearts of the abused children like blades and can cause flashbacks”, the hospital said.

The protection of life and the defence of abandoned children are strongly felt in Japan, a country with the lowest birth rate in the world.

In November 2006, the Jikei Catholic Hospital installed a ‘baby box’ to save babies from abortion and abuse, and this despite government opposition.

The ‘box’, which includes a baby hatch, allows mothers in difficulty to leave their children in safety.

Although the modern “foundling wheel” has proved successful, it has not cut the number of abortions or abandoned minors.

When the ‘baby box’ was first installed, Shinzo Abe was prime minister in a previous administration.

Last year, after Abe came back to power, his government called on Japanese people to do more to boost the birth rate since the country’s “nests” are increasingly empty, threatening its economic well-being as well as workers’ pension plans.

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Kumamoto baby hatch says it received 9 infants in fiscal 2012

Posted on May 23, 2013. Filed under: Orphanages | Tags: , , , |

MAY. 23, 2013 – KUMAMOTO —

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.

Japan Today

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Nagoya Walkathon and Charity Festival

Posted on April 11, 2012. Filed under: Orphanages | Tags: , , , , |

Come join Children First at the Walkathon on May 20th.

Make some new friends. Help some children.

Eat some good food. And most of all have fun.

What is the purpose of the walkathon?

The main purpose is for the international community to join with Japanese friends and companies in raising money for local orphanages and charities.

Who sponsors the Walkathon?

This annual event in Nagoya is sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) and Nagoya International School (NIS)

How does the Walkathon raise money?

Historically there have been two ways. The first is through corporate sponsorship and the second is through individuals buying tickets that cost 2000 yen, which includes a raffle ticket and a t-shirt.

How much do you raise?

Last year, the Walkathon Committee was able to distribute around 8 million yen to orphanages and local charities.

How often does the Walkathon take place?

Annually on a Sunday in May.

How many people attend?

Between 2000 and 2500 people.

How do I buy tickets, become a sponsor and/or volunteer?

Tickets can be purchased from the ACCJ Chubu Office by calling 052-229-1525 or contacting the Walkathon Committee HERE.

You can also find more information on the offical walkathon website (nagoyawalkathon.com) including the venue and how to get to the event. The walkathon also has a facebook page  (facebookNagoyaWalkathon).

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Children First at the Nagoya Walkathon

Posted on May 26, 2011. Filed under: Orphanages, Uplifting Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Children First was one of many charities at the walkathon at Morikoro Park on May 22nd. Children First was selling shirts, magnets, coffee cups, buttons, and they also sold a wide variety of food. Many families attended. Children First was handing out free balloons with the help of kids from the Nagoya International School. The balloons were a big hit with the kids. The weather was good most of the day. Many left behind parents came to help with the event. All of the proceeds went to charity. We did not sell as much as we hoped to but it was an overall good experience.  Next year we will be better prepared and more organized. To see some pictures of this event please visit the Children First Facebook Page. childrenfirstfacebook Children first is dedicated to protecting the rights of children. To learn more about Children First please visit our website www.childrenfirst.jp

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Nagoya Walkathon

Posted on May 7, 2011. Filed under: Orphanages, Uplifting Stories | Tags: , , , , |

For those of you living in Japan, tickets to the Nagoya Walkathon can be purchased from Children First or from any of the other sponsors of this event. The great thing about this event is that all of your donations go to charities or Tohoku tsunami & earthquake victims. If you buy a Gold Ticket you have a chance to win a big screen TV or a new car. Even if you don’t win one of the big prizes all of your money will go to a great cause. Please show your support by purchasing a ticket.  You can go to the following website to buy tickets: nagoyawalkathon.com/tickets?lang=en.

Prices: Tickets include:
Adult Ticket Adult Ticket
¥2,000 yen
   – Entry to the Walk
– Free Walkathon T-shirt
– Music & Entertainment!
– Entry into general raffle draw
Student ticket Student Ticket
¥1,000 yen
Golden Raffle Ticket Golden Raffle Ticket
¥10,000 yen
   – Entry to the Walk
– Free Walkathon T-shirt
– Music & Entertainment!
– Entry into Golden ticket raffle draw (You have a chance to win a    big screen TV or a new car)
– PLUS entry into General raffle draw*Golden Raffle Ticket holders may claim a General ticket at registration to gain entry into the general raffle draw.

*Limited number of T-shirts available. Come early!
**Adult & student ticket proceeds will be donated to local charities.
***Golden ticket proceeds will be donated to the Tohoku relief fund.

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20th Anniversary Walkathon International Charity Festival

Posted on April 22, 2011. Filed under: Orphanages, Uplifting Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at Moricoro Park (Nagoya)

2011 brings the ACCJNIS Walkathon and International Charity Festival into its 20th year. Over the past years this event has been a huge success and has become the largest annual international event in Nagoya and Chubu area.  And with the 20th Anniversary, we are taking it to a new location at the 2005 Expo Aichi Commemorative Park or Moricoro Park as it is now known.

This annual event brings together well over two thousand members of the International and Japanese communities to support the vital work being conducted by local NPOs and charitable organizations.

The Walkathon has also been successful in raising money for local charities and last year the Walkathon Committee was able to distribute over 7 million yen to 27 charities, which support children and those in need in the Chubu Area. This year we hope to improve on that success.

This year will see the event held at MoricoroPark for the firsttime and our goal is to raise well over 8million yen. This will get us back on track to the level of funds raised before the economic downturn 2 years ago and we need everyone’s help in reaching this goal, whether you are participating as an individual or as part of an association or company.

The Walkathon should prove to be a fun and memorable event and a super opportunity for international exchange between members of the Japanese and International communities. So invite your friends and family and join in the fun.

Children First will be one of the many groups (NPO’s) at this charity festival. Please come and support Children First or one of the many other charities. All of the money goes to helping children. For more information (sponsors, charity recipients, access, purpose, etc.) about the event please visit the website below.


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Tiger Mask charitable donations inspire creation of orphan support foundation

Posted on March 2, 2011. Filed under: Orphanages, Uplifting Stories | Tags: , , , |


The “Tiger Mask Foundation” logo (Image courtesy of Fathering Japan)

A Tokyo-based nonprofit organization has set up a new foundation for children at orphanages nationwide, inspired by a recent spate of anonymous donations to child welfare offices under the names of the legendary Tiger Mask manga character.

The NPO, “Fathering Japan,” which supports men raising children, established the “Tiger Mask Foundation” on March 1 to raise individual and group donations and provide the benefits to orphanages as well as support groups across the country as needed.

“Not to miss this opportunity, we want to make a broad appeal for donations and keep the (Tiger Mask) movement going,” said Fathering Japan Chief Representative Tetsuya Ando.

The organization also obtained permission to make a logo featuring Naoto Date — the main character of the Tiger Mask manga series — from the families of the late Ikki Kajiwara and Naoki Tsuji, the work’s author and illustrator, respectively.

“Thanks to the Tiger Mask movement, I have come to want to do something for our society,” Kajiwara’s wife Atsuko Takamori, who serves as a member of the foundation’s steering committee, told a press conference on March 1. “I believe the foundation lives up to my husband’s will.”

According to Hiroshi Nakata, chairman of the National Council of Homes for Children, the orphanage support foundation is probably the first of its kind to operate on a national scale in Japan.

If requested, the foundation will also assist former orphanage children in living independently.

To make donations, send funds to:

Account name: “Tiger Mask Kikin” (Tiger Mask Foundation)

Account No.: 0135667

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Sendagi Branch

For inquiries, call the Tiger Mask Foundation at 080-6810-5215.

Click here for the original Japanese story

(Mainichi Japan) March 1, 2011

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Facility staff at breaking point

Posted on February 23, 2011. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death, Orphanages | Tags: , , |

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Children emotionally disturbed by physical abuse at home often inflict injuries on themselves at welfare facilities as a way of seeking the affection of staff.

The harsh reality surrounding such children has taken its toll on the staff treating them, causing them excessive levels of stress and leading some to resign.

“More and more workers get burned out and quit,” one facility official said.

A recent Yomiuri Shimbun survey has found about 76 percent of emotionally disturbed children have suffered physical abuse, double the figure registered 14 years ago.

Overwhelmed by their workload, many workers at facilities that deal with such traumatized children have called for an overhaul of the facilities’ current management system.

One morning in 2009, a worker at one such privately owned facility in western Japan went to check on a middle school girl as she had not come out of her room. On entering, the worker was shocked to find the girl lying on her futon and bleeding, having apparently cut her wrist with a razor.

The girl survived, but the worker said, “Self-injury is nothing unusual here.”

According to the worker, the girl had suffered physical abuse at home. She saw a psychiatrist regularly and received counseling from a psychotherapist and a caregiver, as well as treatment such as sandplay therapy. However, she repeatedly cut her wrists when she recalled the traumatic experience.

The facility said it accommodates about 20 children, most of whom are victims of physical abuse.

At the decision of child counseling centers, some children move to such facilities from more mainstream children’s shelters.

Children there usually take classes at a building attached to the premises, then return to the facilities where they eat, bathe and sleep. They are given their own rooms.

The facilities, known as “jotan” in Japanese, are intended to help children who suffer a mild degree of emotional distress learn ordinary lifestyle habits so they can return to their homes or other shelters after six months or so. In many cases, however, this process takes from one to 1-1/2 years, and some children go back and forth between the facilities and children’s shelters.

In principle, emotionally disturbed children who require treatment are supposed to be sent to such facilities. In recent years, children’s shelters have seen a growing number of children who have been physically abused and are emotionally disturbed, prompting the shelters to send them to the facilities for treatment.

Meanwhile, many workers at such facilities for emotionally disturbed children struggle to cope with certain behavior from the children, the purpose of which seems to be to test the staff. Some experts say their longing for parental love makes them want to become the center of attention of the staff who look after them, and by hurting themselves, they are trying to form a connection with other people.

“We have to understand [the meaning of] behavior that tests us while also protecting them,” a female worker in her 30s said. “We constantly have to judge [whether they are serious or just testing us]. It’s very stressful.”

Some children at the facilities turn violent toward other children and workers there. During a 1-1/2-year period after the facility opened, more than 10 workers quit. At present, only two of the original staff remain.

“Now that physical abuse has become so widespread in society, we need more facilities for emotionally disturbed children. But social recognition of such facilities remains very low,” an experienced worker said. “The current situation will never improve unless something is done.”

Yoshinobu Nakajima, chief of one such facility, Omura Tsubaki no Mori Gakuen, in Nagasaki Prefecture, said: “We should make combined efforts to increase the number of workers and improve the quality of services. To that end, we need to establish a system to train workers specializing in dealing with physically abused children.”

Japanese link to this article

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76% of kids in welfare facilities have suffered child abuse

Posted on February 17, 2011. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death, Orphanages | Tags: , , |

The Yomiuri Shimbun Feb. 16th, 2011
About 76 percent of those in welfare facilities for the short-term treatment of emotionally disturbed children have been victims of child abuse, with the percentage having doubled from 14 years ago, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey.

As of the end of November, 1,128 juveniles were being treated at such facilities, abbreviated to “jotan” in Japanese, across the nation. Of those, 853 had experienced child abuse, the survey showed.

Furthermore, about 70 percent of the facilities said they suffer from staff shortages, indicating that staff have been exhausted by taking care of children who have experienced abuse.

Child welfare experts pointed out that the system of managing the facilities needs to be reexamined.

The survey was conducted from November to January through telephone interviews and written questionnaires on the facilities.

In 1996, a national liaison council comprising welfare facilities and other relevant bodies conducted a similar survey on 16 jotan facilities and found that about 35 percent of children in their care had experienced child abuse.

Of the 21 facilities that responded to the Yomiuri survey, 14 said they suffered from staff shortages and cited difficulties in treating children who deliberately harm themselves or are violent towards the other children.

Currently there are 37 jotan facilities nationwide. One facility staff member said, “We used to use group therapy a lot, but these days each case requires a different type of therapy, and this is stretching us to breaking point.”

Many of the children in jotan facilities were brought in via child consultation centers.

Of about 20 children who left such facilities in fiscal 2009, only about eight returned home. Though about eight more were transferred to more mainstream children’s shelters, some children could not adapt to their new lives and came back to the jotan facilities, according to officials.

Asked about measures they wanted authorities to take, more than 50 percent of the facilities cited the need to review and increase staff numbers.

Many facilities also asked for an increase in funds, paid in accordance with the number of children in their care.

Yuzuru Hiramoto, an associate professor of children and family welfare studies at Ashikaga Junior College, said, “Most children looked after in jotan facilities are relatively serious sufferers among those who have experienced child abuse.

“But there are no clear guidelines as to how to treat them, and staff are not in a position to study theories–they just have to cope with the problem by themselves. Because of insufficient staff, the system has to be totally overhauled,” he said.

The jotan facilities look after children with relatively mild emotional disorders, and an inability to control themselves due to bullying, abuse and other problems in their relationships.

The facilities take them in on a short-term basis to give them psychological therapy.

They are set up under the Child Welfare Law, along with children’s shelters which house young people who cannot live with their parents for various reasons.

Currently about 580 shelters accommodate about 30,000 children nationwide.

Japanes link to this story

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Japan sees alarming rise in child abuse

Posted on February 15, 2011. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death, Orphanages, Video | Tags: , , , |

By Kyung Lah          February 15, 2011 — Updated 1004 GMT (1804 HKT)

She is a precocious little girl, in pigtails and rainbow rimmed glasses, all spark and determination. The 11- year-old attacks origami with the mission to build a flying bird.

Creating an object of beauty contrasts with the ugliness this child has suffered at the hands of her own parents.

The director of Nonohana-No-ie orphanage nods at us, signaling this girl is one of the of abused children who reside at this protective facility. Seventy percent of the children here, between the ages of 2 and 18, are victims of abuse and neglect so severe the police removed them from their parents’ custody.

In the case of this 11-year-old, her parents beat her so severely on a daily basis that they’re no longer allowed to see her or even know her whereabouts. To reveal her identity, we’re told, would endanger her life.

This girl is part of an exploding population in Japan: victims of child abuse.

Figures from Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare show the cases of reported child abuse have quadrupled in 10 years and increased 40 fold in twenty years. In 1990, the ministry recorded 1,101 cases of abuse. In 1999, 11,631. In 2000, 17,725 cases. And in 2009, the numbers hit an all-time high of 44,211.

The causes behind the numbers are multifaceted. One reason is that abuse cases are being reported more accurately. In 2000, when the number of cases jumped, a national law went into effect mandating the reporting of child abuse and neglect cases.

But child advocates point to a number of other murky, societal factors, from Japan’s two-decade-long economic stagnation to the increasing numbers of divorces and lack of support and affordable child care for single mothers.

Misao Hanazaki, the director of Nonohana-No-ie, says regardless of the reasons for the jump in abuse cases, the result is Japan’s child welfare system is at the breaking point.

“We’re in trouble,” says Hanazaki. “Orphanages all across the country are full. There aren’t enough foster parents in Japan. We are truly in trouble.”

Hanazaki’s orphanage is home to 52 children. When one child leaves, another immediately follows. Japan’s culture is deeply rooted in the family and has historically not embraced adoption or foster care. Japan’s government says in cities like Tokyo, orphanages are at 100 percent capacity.

Yuki Okada, a child advocate, says part of the solution to Japan’s child abuse problem is educating families about abuse. Okada is an author and public speaker, who has written about how her mother abused her. Okada says she then abused her own son, continuing the cycle of child abuse.

“It’s going to get worse unless the public understands the pattern of child abuse and deals with abuse openly,” says Okada.

“The world’s image is that Japan is kind to its children,” says Hamazaki, pausing as she looks at the children around her. “But the image does not match reality.”

Click on the link to watch the video Child abuse video

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