Wow. I wasn't even aware of this issue. Another one of Japan's 'sweep it under the carpet' deals. Very sad indeed.
Japan’s Forgotten Children
There were 36,450 children in the orphanage system in Japan in March, 2011. Only 12% or 4,373 were adopted or placed in foster care during the preceding 12 months. Orphanages abound here; there are 14 within the Nagoya city limits alone. You may wonder why there are so many children without parents in Japan. The fact is that the vast majority of children in orphanages here do have parents. Parents are allowed to put their babies/children in orphanages for any number of reasons. They don’t even need to visit them. They can leave them there, and often do, until they reach 18 years of age. The government will not proactively sever their parental rights.
Last month, a Chukyo Television director who was documenting this problem, asked a high government official why Japan had such a system, as opposed to promoting adoption and foster care like other developed nations. The man, whom I respect for his honesty, basically said that after the war there were many children without parents. At that time, many orphanages were built. So, that became Japan’s system to this day. Let me translate that for you…There are many jobs involved in this system. Plus, we don’t like change.