Child Welfare in Japan

A CNN report on child abuse in Japan.

As you watch and listen, complete the two tasks.


According to the report, child welfare experts say two factors explain the increase in the numbers of abuse. Listen to the report. What are they?


Watch the report and read the transcript. Put the correct words in the gaps.


KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This 11-year-old Japanese girl can twist and bend paper into beautiful animals and shapes.

But just weeks ago this playful little girl suffered (1) _____________ beatings daily by her own parents. She now lives in this protective orphanage. Revealing her identity threatens her safety.

She is part of an (2) ______________ population in Japan: victims of child abuse. Government numbers show in the last decade cases of reported child abuse in Japan have (3) _______________. The lucky children are found and end up in orphanages – like the one run by Misao Hanasaki.

At this orphanage seventy percent of the children are victims of child abuse and (4) ____________. Fifty-two children live here between the ages of two and eighteen. There are no (5) _______________; when one child leaves another immediately follows.

“We’re in trouble,” says Hanasaki. “Orphanages all across the country are full, there aren’t enough foster parents in Japan. We are truly in trouble.”

Japan’s culture is deeply rooted in the family, and has historically not embraced (6) _____________ or foster care. The result? Japan’s government says in cities like Tokyo, orphanages are at 100 percent (7)____________, a system that can’t keep up with the need.

“The world’s image is that Japan is kind to its children,” says Hanasaki. “But the image does not match reality,” she says, leaving caretakers like her to try where parents have failed.

Child welfare experts say a couple of factors have led to the increase in the numbers of abuse. One, a change in the law now requires child abuse cases be reported.

But there is another reason. Japan’s economy has been (8) ____________ for more than two decades. Child advocates say this is just one of the ugly social impacts of a struggling economy.

Yuki Okada is a child advocate. She says couple the economy with a society where it’s shameful to ask for help and it’s a (9) __________ cooker for families.

Okada knows. She says she was abused by her mother, then she abused her own son. She is one of the few in Japan who openly talks about child abuse.

“It’s going to get worse unless the public understands the pattern of child abuse,” says Okada, “and deals with abuse openly.”

Back at the origami table this 11-year-old abuse victim is finishing up her final project, reminding us how easily children give their love and how the fragile nature of it is too often (10) ______________ .

Kyung Lah, CNN, Chiba, Japan.

Answers are on the Course Information page.


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