Man arrested for forcing 1-year-old daughter to sit on kerosene heater

Posted on December 7, 2014. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: , , , |

KUMAMOTO — Nov. 11th, 2014

Police in Takamori, Kumamoto Prefecture, said Monday they have arrested a 46-year-old man for abusing his one-year-old daughter after he forced her to sit on a kerosene heater, burning her legs and buttocks.

Police said the incident occurred late last month and identified the suspect as Hisao Fukuyama, who lives with his wife and three children.

Fukuyama was quoted by police as saying that he disciplined his daughter in front of the rest of the family because she wouldn’t do as she was told, NTV reported.

Meanwhile, local media reported Monday that Fukuyama’s wife consulted police last month about his abuse.

Japan Today

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483 children abandoned in last 3 years, survey shows

Posted on June 29, 2014. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: , , |

Kumamoto –  June 28, 2014

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Nearly 500 children have been found abandoned or neglected by their parents in the three years through March this year, according to a nationwide survey by The Yomiuri Shimbun.

In May, the skeletal remains of a boy were discovered in an apartment in Atsugi, Kanawaga Prefecture. A series of such cases, in which children have died of malnutrition after being abandoned by their parents, has recently come to light. Experts have said a detailed survey of the current situation must be carried out.

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun survey, 483 children have been found abandoned in the last three years, including cases in which their lives were put in danger. However, the central and local governments have not conducted a detailed survey nor taken any special preventative measures. They will likely be called on to promptly create a system to find such children at an early stage and take them into protective custody.

The survey, which was conducted in June, asked 69 local governments with child consultation centers—including governments of prefectures, government ordinance-designated cities and some core cities—about such factors as the number of children left alone at home or other places from fiscal 2011 to fiscal 2013.

The figure includes cases in which parents left children at home and went out of contact, in which they frequently left children indoors or outdoors for long hours, and in which parents abandoned babies shortly after birth.

In fiscal 2013, there were 131 such children, compared to 199 in fiscal 2012 and 153 in fiscal 2011.

By prefecture, Osaka had the largest number with 120, followed by Tokyo with 102 and Saitama with 48. All 26 cases in Kumamoto Prefecture were children left at a foster care facility for abandoned newborns at Jikei Hospital in Kumamoto city.

However, local governments have different understandings of the word “abandonment,” as the central government has only a vague definition.

Of the 69 governments, 28 local governments said they had no cases of child abandonment, but some of the 28 did not count incidents in which parents frequently left children alone at night. Therefore, the number may rise if a more formal survey is conducted.


By age, children under 3 years old topped the list at 197, or 41 percent of the total. The number of children in primary school was 123, accounting for 25 percent, while that of children 3 years old and above who had not yet entered school was 114, or 24 percent.

The figure also includes 28 middle school students, or 6 percent, and 21 high school students and others, or 4 percent.

Some of the cases have been life-threatening, given the conditions in which the children were left and their age. In Saitama, a 2-year-old boy was found in an apartment on the verge of dying of starvation. At JR Shin-Osaka Station, a 1-year-old girl was found abandoned in a restroom.

Regarding the challenges in tackling the issue, many local governments answered that it is difficult to instruct parents. They said some parents make no effort to understand the dangers of neglecting their children and do so repeatedly.

“We need to provide general livelihood support for parents who need to work at night for financial reasons,” a municipal official said.

“The number of abandoned children is huge, and the situation absolutely cannot be ignored. In some cases, children nearly died. Even after they are taken into protective custody, psychological damage remains a concern,” said Prof. Jun Saimura of Kwansei Gakuin University, an expert on child abuse. “The central government needs to take immediate countermeasures after studying why and how such cases occur.”

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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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Hospitals “baby box” still controversial

Posted on November 5, 2012. Filed under: Uplifting Stories | Tags: , , , |

KUMAMOTO–Controversial when it started five years ago, the Jikei Hospital’s “Akachan Post” (Baby box) remains a source for critics, despite its successful track record for allowing unwanted babies to get new homes.

The hospital in Kumamoto Prefecture opened the Akachan Post on May 10, 2007, in which parents can anonymously place their babies they cannot raise by themselves.

A total of 81 babies were placed into the box, named “Konotori no Yurikago” (Stork’s cradle), by September 2011.

Of these, 37 are currently living with new families as adopted children or under the care of foster patents, while 27 others have been placed in child-care facilities. The remaining 17 are being raised by their real parents or others, according to the Kumamoto city government.

The service remains a source of debate. Critics say that it deprives children of the chance to know who their real parents are. They also wonder if it is an appropriate route for unwanted babies to be sent through, and for society as a whole to allow it.

However, the hospital said it will continue to allow parents to put their babies in the box anonymously.

“The right to know who their real parents are is important,” said Yukiko Tajiri, head of the nurses’ section of the hospital.

“But there are babies who may have been abandoned and died unless their parents can put them in the box anonymously. “Anonymity is necessary to save the babies. Though it looks like the parents easily put their babies in the box, they are also tormented by having to do so.”

In one success story, in the house of a married couple in their late 30s, a 2-year-old boy is actively walking around. His favorite television show is a children’s program in which the good guys fight and defeat the bad guys. Imitating the good guys, he holds a stick and wields it like a sword. The couple is watching him happily.

The boy was put in the Akachan Post soon after he was born. When he was around 11 months old, the couple adopted him.

The mother had experienced recurrent miscarriages. Wanting a child desperately, they knew that an adoption agency was looking for a couple to adopt the boy. They applied to the organization for his adoption.

When the couple met the baby for the first time at a home for infants, they were told that he had been placed in the Akachan Post. At that time, they also knew that his real parents were facing circumstances in which they could not raise him themselves.

Though the couple was surprised to hear that, they decided to adopt him after visiting him for a month, thinking that the baby was not responsible for such circumstances.

In their house, the couple slept with him for the first time and responded to the baby’s repeated cries at night. They also took the boy on trips. Through those experiences, the Akachan Post baby became a loving son for them.

Imagining the difficulties of his real mother who had placed the baby in the Akachan Post immediately after he was born, the couple still feels pity.

“Thank you for sparing the life of this child,” the wife said she wants to tell her. “We will accept the job of offering to this boy the affection you should have offered.”

The couple is now praying that his real mother will recover and become happy.

The couple thinks that in the future, they should tell their son that they are not his real parents, although they feel anxious about doing so. However, they are going to tell him that the Akachan Post was set up to save the lives of babies, and that his real mother put him in the box to save his life.

The couple says that the Akachan Post is necessary in today’s society and hopes that it can be an accepted alternative for unwanted children.

Since the Akachan Post was set up five years ago, however, there has been criticism that putting babies in the box anonymously is depriving the babies of their right to know who their real parents are.

The parents of 67 of the 81 babies have been found. Those of the remaining 14 babies have yet to be located.

A former staff member of a child counseling center, who had been working for the protection of babies put in the box for several years, searched for their parents to make it possible for them to know who their real parents are.

“I wanted to look for them by any means,” the former staff member said.

According to reports revealed in a meeting of a Kumamoto city government’s committee specializing in the issue, some of the real parents put their babies in the box for selfish reasons, such as jobs or going abroad to study.

“Some parents come to the box because they can abandon their babies anonymously. We can say that the babies were separated from their parents because there is the Akachan Post,” the former staff member said. “We also have to pay attention to the fact that about 10 percent of the babies placed in the box are children with disabilities.”

Jikei Hospital is asking parents to consult its staff before putting their babies in the box. It is making the request to avoid a situation in which the parents of the babies are not known. The hospital is also putting in the unmanned box a letter asking parents to give their names to its staff.

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Junior high school boy committed suicide over bullying in April 2011: education board

Posted on September 11, 2012. Filed under: Bullying | Tags: , , , |

YATSUSHIRO, Kumamoto — A third-year junior high school student committed suicide in April 2011 after being bullied by his schoolmates, the education board here said on Sept. 10.

A memo found in a pocket of the 14-year-old boy’s clothing read in part, “It was grueling,” the education board said, adding that the memo had a list of names of several students who had apparently bullied him. The education board and his school interviewed the victim’s classmates, home room teacher and others as part of their investigations into the case. The investigations found that the boy had begun to be verbally abused and ostracized in his club activity in the first semester and in class in the second semester of the second year in junior high school.

The education board concluded that the students mentioned in the boy’s memo and other schoolmates had been engaged in the bullying. Several students and their guardians apologized to the bereaved family of the victim, according to the education board.

The education board said it had “refrained from announcing the findings at the request of the bereaved family.” But the education board decided to release the findings in time with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s fact-finding investigations into bullying. Toshikuni Takaue, chairman of the municipal education board said, “We truly feel sorry that we could not protect his precious life.”

September 11, 2012(Mainichi Japan)

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Cycling from Kumamoto to Tokyo to Raise Awareness about Child Rights

Posted on July 31, 2011. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Hague Convention, Human Rights, Japanese Family Law, Parental Alienation Syndrome, United Nation Convention on the Rights of a Child | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

I have made some modifications to my cycling trip.  I have decided to start in Kumamoto on the 13th of September. I picked this day because the judge will rule on my case on the 13th. I was expecting the ruling much earlier. As a result I thought it would be best to delay my start. It seems kind of symbolic to start in Kumamoto. I have a had to make numerous trips to Kumamoto for court.   I can pick up my ruling on the 13th and then start cycling. It would be nice if I could get press or left behind parents to see me off on the 13th. If you don’t have plans feel free to meet me at the Kumamoto Family Court on the 13th of September.

I am still planning to handout flyers along the way. I am still planning on stopping  at governors offices, court houses, and international schools. Due to my late start I may not have time to cycle all the way to Hokkaido. I will play it by ear.  There are numerous left behind parents who  can support me from Kumamoto to Tokyo but much less support exists between Tokyo and Hokkaido.  I am working with other left behind parents now to pin down the exact days I will be in Saga, Fukuoka, Yamaguchi, Hiroshima, Okayama, Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto, Otsu, Gifu, Nagoya, Shizuoka, Yokohama, and Tokyo.  I will be making updates on the Joint Custody in Japan Facebook page and the Children First Facebook page as well as my Facebook page. Please check one of these places every week or so.

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20-year-old student admits to strangling 3-year-old girl in Kumamoto

Posted on March 6, 2011. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: , , , , , |

Saturday 05th March, 05:15 AM KUMAMOTO

A 20-year-old college student was arrested Friday on suspicion of abandoning the body of a 3-year-old girl who went missing at a supermarket in the city of Kumamoto the previous day and was found dead on a nearby riverbank, police said.

Yoshihiro Yamaguchi, a sophomore at Kumamoto Gakuen University, was quoted as telling investigators that he strangled Koko Shimizu in a restroom at the supermarket and carried her body in his backpack to abandon it at the riverbank, according to the police.

The girl went missing while shopping at the supermarket with her parents and brother on Thursday evening. The security camera in the store captured her going to the restroom alone but did not record her coming out.

The footage also showed a young man with a backpack entering the restroom after Koko and leaving with a bulging backpack around 15 minutes later, according to the police.

The girl’s body was found on a riverbank around 800 meters north of the supermarket. There were no obvious signs of injury, police said.

The suspect told the investigators he had taken the girl’s body to the riverbank by bicycle.

It is believed that he was unacquainted with the victim and that he happened to see her in the supermarket, police said.

The girl’s parents reported to police that their daughter was missing.

Police made inquiries at senior high and other schools in the city as the supermarket’s security camera had captured the image of a young man, later apprehending Yamaguchi who told them where he had abandoned her body.

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