Let's discuss the adoption system

This week’s featured article


The Justice Ministry plans to expand the special adoption system to cover children under 15 years old, compared with the current basic age limit of under 6.

The revision is aimed at helping children lacking proper care due to abuse, poverty and other reasons, according to informed sources. It will be the first time for the special adoption system to be revised since its introduction in 1988.

With the revision, the special adoption system will be available to elementary and junior high school students.

The ministry aims to submit related legislation, including a bill to revise the Civil Code, during the ordinary Diet session due to start Jan. 28, after receiving recommendations on the issue from the Legislative Council.

A subcommittee of the council has looked at several options for the adoption age limit and reached a conclusion that it is desirable to set the ceiling at under 15, as the Civil Code calls for respecting the will of people aged 15 or older.

Adoption under the special system terminates legal ties between adopted children and their biological parents.

The Legislative Council, at its meeting on Jan. 29, is slated to decide whether to support the exceptional adoption of children between 15 and 17, under the following conditions: that they agree to be adopted, have been living with those who would become their adoptive parents since before turning 15, and encountered circumstances that prevented their adoption filings by that age.

To reduce their stress, the revised system would separate the court procedures for judging birth parents’ capacity to raise children from the matching of children with adoptive parents, the sources said.

The new system is also expected to allow the heads of child counseling centers to file for adoption.

Birth parents are currently allowed to retract their consent for adoption until a court ruling. But the planned system will give them only two weeks to withdraw consent, in a bid to help children and their new parents develop their relationships, the sources said.

First published in The Japan Times on Jan. 19.

Warm up

One-minute chat about “parents.”


Collect words related to children, e.g., school, play, young.

New words

1) consent: approval, e.g., “The owner gave her consent to pick the tree’s apples.”

2) slate: to designate for a specific purpose or action occurring at a fixed time , e.g., “He is slated to direct the new Marvel Comics film.”

3) retract: to pull back, e.g., “The politician retracted her statement after being criticized.”

Guess the headline

Japan to expand age limit for a_ _ _ _ _ _ _ system to cover c_ _ _ _ _ _ _ under 15


1) What is to be revised and what is the change?

2) What will be the condition for 15-17 aged children to be adopted?

3) How will the revised system reduce stress in children?

Let’s discuss the article

1) How much do you know about the special adoption system?

2) What do you think about this change?

3) What do you think is needed for children to be raised in a good environment?






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