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Nursery Waiting Lists in Japan Grow for Third Year (News)

Tokyo, Sept. 1 (Jiji Press)—The number of children waiting to enter nursery schools in Japan as of April 1 increased by 2,528 from a year before to 26,081, growing for the third straight year, the welfare ministry said Friday. The increase is believed to reflect a revision of the definition of such children, ministry officials said. Nursery schools were in short supply amid faster-than-expected…
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A Third of Mothers Neglected Prenatal Checkups in Child Abuse Death Cases (News)

Tokyo, Aug. 17 (Jiji Press)--An experts' panel investigating fatal child abuse cases in Japan in fiscal 2015 reported Thursday that over 30% of the mothers of the dead children did not receive checkups during their pregnancies. Finding mothers who need support while they are still pregnant is widely seen as a key to preventing child abuse. But Kansai University Professor Yamagata Fumiharu, …
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Japan Lifts Target of Company-Run Nursery Capacity to 70,000 (News)

Tokyo, Aug. 15 (Jiji Press)—The Japanese government aims to increase the combined capacity of company-led nurseries to some 70,000 children before fiscal 2017 ends next March, up from the initially targeted 50,000, Matsuyama Masaji, minister for measures to address the declining birthrate, said Tuesday. The move is part of the government's efforts to achieve its goal of eliminating the nursery …
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Bawling Babies Battle in “Crying Sumō” Festival (Japan in Photos)

Babies take part in a nakizumō or “crying sumō” festival in the Tomioka Hachimangū shrine in Yokohama on July 17, 2017. Around 60 tiny combatants participated in the event, which entreated for their healthy growth through the full-lunged bawling of the junior athletes. Each was given a rikishi name and wore a paper helmet and decorative mawashi loincloth. (© Jiji)
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Japan’s Poverty Rate Remains Well above OECD Average (News)

Tokyo, June 27 (Jiji Press)--Japan's relative poverty rate in 2015 fell slightly from the previous 2012 survey, but remained well above the average for Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member economies, a government survey showed Tuesday. The relative poverty rate, which measures the proportion of people with a disposable income of less than half of the median income of the…
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Regional Gap in Young Children’s Mortality Widening in Japan (News)

Tokyo, June 19 (Jiji Press)—The regional discrepancy in death rates of children aged less than 5 in Japan has been widening since around the year 2000, a study group of the National Center for Child Heath and Development has said in a report. The group tracked young children's death rates in the 47 prefectures and differences between them, based on population statistics between 1899 and 2014. …
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Youngest Pro Shōgi Player Wins 23rd Straight Game since Debut (News)

Osaka, June 7 (Jiji Press)—Fujii Sōta, the youngest professional shōgi player, on Wednesday extended his winning streak since his debut to a 23rd official game. Fourth-dan Fujii, a 14-year-old junior high school third-grader, beat fifth-dan Miyamoto Hiroshi, 31, in 141 moves, in the third round of the second Jōshū Yamada Challenge Cup in the western Japan city of Osaka. With the win, Fujii …
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Child Abuse on the Rise: Exploring the Societal FactorsNishizawa Satoru

The number of abuse cases handled by child guidance centers across Japan topped 100,000 for the first time last year. In this article, the author speculates why child abuse—including psychological, physical, and sexual abuse, as well as neglect—appears to be increasing in Japan.
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Preying on the Vulnerable: Japan’s “Schoolgirl Escort” IndustryIshikawa Yūki

For some high school girls, smartphones seem to open the doors to a world of lucrative part-time jobs providing a range of services to older male customers. Many girls are tempted by the promise of good money for easy work. But what is the truth about these shady businesses that have grown up to exploit the demand for schoolgirl escort services?
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Smartphones and Teens: Consumed by ConnectednessIshikawa Yūki

Japanese teenagers have grown ever more reliant on smartphones to cement the social relationships so important to their sense of self-worth. But for some, constant connectedness can morph into an onerous burden or even a consuming addiction. Ishikawa Yūki draws on her journalistic experience to shed light on such hazards.
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