Type WebPage
Date 2013-09-30
Tags adoption, Japan

Cultural and legal hurdles block path to child adoptions in Japan

A Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare survey shows that 29,399 children were living in orphanages in 2012. But while more than 7,000 couples applied to adopt or become foster parents every year between 2006 and 2010, only 309 children were adopted in fiscal 2010, according to ministry figures.

The adoption of adults, usually for financial or business reasons, is relatively common, and has been since the Edo Period. But a number of factors, including a cumbersome process, lack of awareness and the need for the consent of a child’s legal guardian keep the number of child adoptions low.

Over 83 percent of the children aged up to 18 living in these institutions actually have a legal guardian but have been given away by parents unable to care for them or removed from their homes by the state due to abuse or neglect. Health ministry figures from 2011 indicate that more than 45 percent of the children in these institutions have been neglected or abused.

Name Role
Charles Lewis Author
The Japan Times, Ltd. Publisher