In Japan, an increasing number of children are taken away from their families by a child guidance center (CGC) at the discretion of the director of the center. The children taken away are detained in an isolated detention quarter. This detention can last for more than a year without any court review. The detained children are neither allowed to go out nor are they permitted to attend school; further, they are subjected to violent and obscene acts by the warden of the detention quarter. They are then transferred to privately run alternative care institutions, which take advantage of the children as a way of amassing money from the government.This video is a shocking exposé of the severe child abuse and infringement of the rights of the child committed in a child guidance center run by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
These children are brought to this detention quarter as a result of being arbitrarily removed from their families by the director of the child guidance center; the detention is often based on such a minor evidence as a single cut or bruise on the child's body, a squabble between the husband and wife in front of the child or false reports from schools or neighbours with the hidden intention of retaliation or removal of the child from the school or community. According to Japanese law, a court warrant is not necessary to detain these children, which is a clear breach of Article 9 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, which stipulates, 'States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child'.
There are two administrative incentives for Child Guidance Centers (CGCs) in Japan to bring in children into their detention quarters. Both are in no way related to the real welfare of the children: 1. 'Custody per diem': CGC receives a fiscal allowance of JPY350,00o per month, part of which is also used for the administration of the CGC. 2. 'Expected number of children in custody per year': The custody per diem multiplied by this expected number makes the annual fiscal allocation to each CGC. Thus, this number functions as the quota that the director of each CGC has to fulfil in order to use up the allocated fund at the end of fiscal year. Thus, in Japan, children are brought into the custody of CGCs for MONEY.
Officially, this measure is called ‘temporary custody’, yet those concerned citizens who know the reality dub it as ‘abduction’, an offence that the North Korean government committed against Japanese citizens.
The independent and third-party investigation of child guidance centers in Japan has already been recommended in June 2010 by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Being aware of the human right infringements in the child guidance centers, the 'Concluding Observation: Japan', of the 54th session of the Committee stated to Japan in paragraph 63: 'Committee recommends that the State party commission an independent investigation of the child guidance system and its working methods, including an evaluation of the rehabilitative outcomes...' However, in responding to a question from MP Takako Suzuki of the House of Representatives in May 2016, the Japanese government was defiant that such an investigation had NEVER been made. The Japanese Government thus continues to infringe the human rights of the child and family through the COMPLETE NEGLIGENCE of this UN recommendation.
Many of the children removed from their families to this detention quarter will eventually be transferred to one of the child care institutions. These institutions originated in the period immediately following the defeat of Japan in WWII in order to care for war orphans, but survived into the later period and became vested interests protected by the Japanese bureaucracy. The living conditions in these institutions are poor and violence committed by wardens against children is not uncommon. According to Human Rights Watch, 'the very system of institutional care may itself be abusive' (Without Dreams, 2014, p.4). These institutions are run privately based on the funds provided by the government, ca. JPY 350 thousand per month per child. There is collusion between the child guidance center and child care institutions. Many heads of the child guidance center who have sent enough children with good behaviour to these institutions can be parachuted into the role of the director of the institution after retirement. It is quite probable that the child guidance centers tames the children and makes them more controllable and docile through these disciplinary measures so that they become more amenable to the orders of the alternative care institutions.
This is not an isolated case. Forced detention and the use of psychiatric drugs and hospitals have been the hallmark of the authoritarian society. We need only to recall how the Stalinist Soviet government applied this combination to the political dissidents. Psychiatric drugs are also commonly administered to the children in child care institutions in Japan for the purpose of keeping the child docile and quiet, as evidenced in the field research by Kohei Yoshida (Journal of WelfareSociology, No. 10, 2013). The malpractice of sending the dissident child to a psychiatric hospital is the hallmark of the child guidance system in Japan, which is in no way based on sound awareness of welfare and human rights, but is dictated by a more authoritarian, oppressive and depriving thoughts.
Japan Child Rights
Japan Child Guidance Center
Japan Child Consultation Center
Child Consultation Center