|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Unwanted Japanese babies are being sold for huge prices to rich foreigners and, thanks to a lack of laws, possibly even pedophiles, according to Josei Jishin (11/7-14).
"Among the women coming to my clinic are schoolgirls who've fallen pregnant to college student boyfriends or others having affairs with married men. Just recently, we got a part-time worker knocked up by some bigwig bureaucrat. She told us she wanted to leave a baby with us that she hadn't been able to abort. We were more than happy to take it off her hands," a gynecologist who moonlights as a trader in unwanted babies tells Josei Jishin.
Trade in Japanese babies can be lucrative, which has attracted the criminal element to the process.
"There are actually companies out there that are like slave traders, selling babies overseas for huge sums," Masaki Takakura, author of "Akachan no Nedan (The Price of a Baby)," tells Josei Jishin.
Takakura says there are eight companies registered with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and another 20 which haven't been authorized by the government. Of the 20 unauthorized places, 12 were still actively operating as of September 2004. The official companies sent 106 Japanese babies to be adopted overseas in the period from 2000 to 2003, but there's no way to find out how many young children the unlicensed places shipped off. That also stops authorities from finding out exactly how many Japanese babies are being sent overseas for adoption.
"You can't be punished for sending a baby out of Japan to be adopted without reporting it to the authorities, and there's no clear laws that allow for people who do this to be arrested," Takakura says.
In countries like the United States, families looking to adopt foreign children have to undergo strict inspections before their applications are approved and they're put on a list to get the next available kid. But there's no such obligation in Japan and it's up to the organization providing the baby to decide whether it will hand it over to an applicant.
"I'm speaking in extremes here, but the reality is that under the existing circumstances, it's perfectly possible for immoral types to buy children to use in things like child pornography or to harvest their organs," Takakura says.
Takakura adds that Japanese babies are popular choices for adoption by couples overseas.
"Drugs are rife in America, and a lot of children born with disabilities are put up for adoption. But Japanese babies are healthy, which makes them a popular choice overseas," Takakura says.
Couples looking to adopt usually want babies as young as possible and there are no laws in Japan to protect children from being sent out at a particular age, which means kids as young as 6-months-old are being shipped off to other lands.
"There are some companies demanding payments of up to 5 million yen for providing a Japanese baby for adoption," Takakura says. "And they're callous enough to say things like they can make the price cheaper if the couple will accept a kid with disabilities."
International Social Service Japan is a foundation whose tasks include finding adoptive parents for unwanted children.
"For cost-cutting reasons, we have to put children waiting for adoption into homes so they're adoptive parents don't have to foot a big bill for their care. But before turning our attention overseas, we try to find parents looking to adopt within Japan," ISSJ's Ikuko Omori tells Josei Jishin. Omori says ISSJ is not opposed to sending children outside of Japan and argues it's better in cases where the kids are disabled or of a different skin color and less likely to undergo the type of discrimination common in the land of their birth.
"But for children who we can't find parents for in Japan, we've got to take the overseas route," Omori says, adding that ISSJ inspects prospective parents before any children are passed to their parents. "But once they have been handed over, that's basically it. Not all adoptive parents are good. And we can't help but suspect nefarious sexual plans among those who apply to receive girls aged 7 or 8. But I don't know whether even these same standards are being applied by individual gynecologists who are sending children for adoption overseas."
The moonlighting gynecologist says his organization has "absolutely no checks" when sending children to be adopted overseas.
"We hold off if the applicant looks a bit shady. But you don't inspect parents before they have kids, do you? If there's any sort of problem, we'll be able to deal with it through some sort of legal authority," the baby trader tells Josei Jishin. "But, we're a gynecological clinic. Our job is to deliver children. And then hand them over in the order they're applied for. If we make some mistake, we'll regret it and give up the business. But, up till now, we've never had a problem." (By Ryann Connell)