Open any Japanese newspaper, listen to the radio, watch television or keep tabs on any other form of media, social or otherwise, and you are bound to find references to this country's "rapidly aging society."

We are constantly reminded of the fact that the Japanese nation has the highest percentage of old people in the world; that by 2060 four out of 10 Japanese will be aged 65 or over; and that somehow they will have to be catered to and cared for half a century from now.

The hype on the existence of the very old may be justified; but where's the hype on the progress of the very young — their needs and the circumstances under which they suffer?