• Kyodo


A boy about two months old has been left in the controversial baby hatch for unwanted newborns at Jikei Hospital in the city of Kumamoto, sources said Saturday.

The baby was left there Tuesday night, making him the second child left at the hospital since it opened the compartment in early May.

He is in good health, the sources said.

The baby hatch, which critics say could encourage people to abandon their children, received a boy aged 3 or 4 on the first day of its operation May 10.

The boy was able to say he was brought there by his father from Fukuoka Prefecture.

The hospital declined to confirm the second case in line with its policy. It has said it will only announce once a year the number of children left under the system.

After admitting the boy and checking his health, the hospital reported the case to police and a local child consultation office, the sources said.

Because he shows no signs of health problems, the baby is expected to be raised at a home for infants unless his parents claim him, they said.

Meanwhile, police sources said the Kumamoto Prefectural Police will not try to establish a case of parental abandonment as the baby appears not to have been a victim of abuse.

The baby hatch, equipped with an incubator, is designed to enable people to leave babies anonymously using a door on the outer wall of the hospital. Hospital staff are alerted when the door is opened. A note inside the hatch urges people to contact hospital staff if they change their minds.

Public opinion over the system has been divided, with some saying it offers a last resort to save the lives of unwanted babies, while others say it will encourage people to leave their children.

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