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Travel, Teach, Live in Japan

Japanese Parents New Concerns
By:Jonathon Hardcastle

There's a new resort in Japan for parents and their kids that is getting rave reviews and increasing in popularity as each day passes. The resort, located at Ebina in Japan, is known as the Fantasy Kids Resort. It contains all the basic amenities of any regular park for young children. However, this park has a few extras that clearly make it stand out. It is equipped with uniformed monitors, security cameras and sterilized sand. In addition, visitory are told to spray the wheels of their strollers with antiseptic soap.

The indoor park is pretty near to Tokyo, Japan's capital. The fact is that it is only one of at least a dozen similar parks that are situated all over Japan. It makes one think that, with Japan being one of the safest places on earth, isn't this kind of thing being overly-protective of children?

A recent informal survey of Japanese parents revealed that they are all for such parks and actually believe them to be a logical and appropriate response to a string of dramatic crimes against Japanese children that occured recently. These crimes were so out of the ordinary that they have succeeded in transfixing the entire nation.

The Fantasy Kids Resort is ideal under these circumstances, most parents say. It combines the parents concerns with the well-known Japanese penchant for cleanliness and a free-spending reverence for children that has only become deeper with the dropping birthrates among single-child homes.

As one parent put it, “Here I feel safe enough to let my kid out of my sight.” “It's too late when something has already happened,” said Yukiko Matsushita, visiting with her 4-year-old daughter.

Recent crime statistics bear out the reason for this renewed concern among Japanese parents for their kids. According to recent figures, kidnapping cases involving children have gone up by a stunning 25 percent since 2001. There have also been a spate of dastardly murders of late. In one such murder, the body of a little girl was stuffed in a box while in another, a child was stabbed over a dozen times in the chest. These are the kind of heinous crimes that have shocked the entire nation and parents everywhere.

Jonathon Hardcastle

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