Veteran foster parent Mika Hobbs was surprisingly frank when she confessed how nerve-racking her job can be.

"Sometimes I'm beside myself with this murderous rage at the kids," Hobbs said recently at her home in Machida, western Tokyo. "There are those moments when I feel like I'm losing it."

Hobbs has been a dedicated foster mother for 11 years, during which time she has taken in five abandoned and abused children, some of them mentally challenged and prone to extremely sociopathic behavior.