Some 40,000 children in Japan do not live with their families and 90 percent of such youngsters live in children's homes. While these institutions are sometimes called "orphanages," the majority of the children have been removed from the family home for reasons that include parental neglect, abuse or financial issues. In some cases, parents relinquish care of their children voluntarily.
Fostering and adoption are still the exception rather than the norm in Japan, and upon entering a children's home, a child typically stays there until they finish high school at 18. After leaving, they frequently struggle in society, marginalized for having grown up without the opportunities that other people take for granted. This week Lifelines introduces two groups working to make life better for these young people.