July 6, 2007

A hatch to drop off unwanted babies

What would you do if you have an unwanted baby?. I think this is an absurd question to ask, but it is a legitimate question for the Japanese. In order to prevent new born babies from being disposed or neglected by their parents, Kumamoto Christian hospital has developed a hatch where baby can be given away and adopted safely by others.

Recently, Kumamoto Christian hospital has received a newborn baby for the first time after it accommodated three babies ranging from a few months to a few years old in age since it opened May 10. Babies left at the hatch at Jikei Hospital will be adopted or sent to children's nursing homes if the identity of the parents remains unknown or if the parents are deemed unable to raise them.

The baby hatch has been severely criticised by some, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who says that parents must bring up children themselves. Criticism was further stoked when a boy aged about three was left in the hatch on its first day of operation last month.

Adoption of non-relatives is extremely rare in Japan, and the children are likely to be sent to children's homes.

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