A 35-year-old ex-high school music teacher opted not to take a prenatal test because she wanted to cherish the life of her child regardless of any disabilities the baby might be born with, and whatever difficulties these could bring.

Pushing her to make that decision was the smile of one of her students, a girl with Down syndrome, at the high school in western Japan for children with special needs.

The woman, who declined to be named, has loved playing piano since childhood and in 2007 she qualified as a high school music teacher. When she was assigned to the school, she had little knowledge of disabilities.