“Placing children at the center” － I have a strong desire to see all children, regardless of the environment into which they are born, live happily and without any loss of lives.Member of the House of Representatives Hon. Kaname Tajima https://www.k-tajima.net/
Japan is an advanced country in terms of the size of its economy, but is lagging behind other countries in terms of issues of children. Its data related to child poverty, poverty of single-mother households, and child abuse are worst among advanced economies. It is at the bottom in child happiness ranking. Japan is no longer a good country for children. This is because politicians have not prioritized children or child rearing.
“Placing children at the center” is part of my political philosophy. I have a strong desire to see all children, regardless of the environment into which they are born, live happily and without any loss of lives. And I hope to make politics in this country one that truly befits that of an advanced country.
There are some 46,000 children in Japan who cannot live with the parents who gave them birth, and most of those children are living in institutions. While it is a common perception around the world that it is best for children to live in a home environment, Japan’s ratio of children living with foster parents, for example, is exceptionally low.
In my desire to make Japan a country that gives top priority to children, I worked on a system for special adoption and had a private members’ bill for “promotion of a system for special adoption” passed in the Diet in 2016. Although this may be a small step, we continue to work on these issues through partnership between the public and private sectors.
Lowering the recidivism rate is also important in making Japan a better country. Japan can be confident about its public safety relative to other countries, but its recidivism rate is just as high as in other countries. Prompted by my visit to prisons in the United States as a member of the Committee on Judicial Affairs, I launched a nonpartisan parliamentary caucus for preventing recidivism and had a private members’ bill passed in the Diet.
I also think that there is a lack of support for victims, and this support obviously needs to be strengthened. In addition, it is important that we reinforce criminal penalties and measures for preventing recidivism with more focus on educational and welfare aspects, so that fewer people become victims of crimes.
Although we have many challenges, I hope to change the status quo, including the lack of political will to give priority to children, and make Japan a country in which people can be hopeful about the future.
Interviewed in October 2020
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