Children First is most concerned about divorce, child abuse, visitation, bullying and neglect.
1) Divorce affects one in four children in Japan. Over 200,000 children are affected by divorce and 80% of those children loose all contact with one parents. This has far reaching implications for the family unit in Japan. More an more children will grow up without strong family values. More and more children will have problems developing relationships with others. More and more children will repeat the mistakes their parents made.
2) Neglect is when children are ignored or left alone without proper supervision. Children First believes all children under the age of 14 should be supervised by an adult. Under no circumstance should elementary children be left alone. Recently there have been articles in the paper about children falling from balconies. It was later learned that these children were left alone in the house. Western countries would consider this negligent homicide and the parent would most likely be jailed. Children First wants to educate parents on the possible consequences of neglecting children.
3) Abuse is increasing at an alarming rate in Japan. In some cases children are removed from the parents and put in foster care or an orphanage. But too often children are returned to abusive parents. Children First would like to see abusive parents striped of their parental rights until they undergo counseling and can prove they are fit parents. In some case abuse has been so severe that it has resulted in death. When this happens the abusers must go to jail.
4) Bullying has been a long standing problem for many Japanese children. Unfortunately some bullying cases have led to suicide in Japan. These cases are tragic and could have been prevented if the proper system of education and training were in place. Teachers need to be trained in how to identify bullying and what to do when bullying happens. Strong action needs to be taken against students that bully others. The Ministry of Education all with the principal of every school must immediately address bullying.
5) In some cases of divorce and separation one parent denies visitation to the other. Children First feels this is a form of child abuse. We want the police and courts to enforce visitation orders. We want the police to take action against parents who deny visitation to the parent that does not have custody. The Supreme Court of Japan feels children need the love and attention of both parents. We agree with the Supreme Court.