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Regarding the story “Missing Hokkaido boy found alive” in the June 4 edition, one finds a lot of public speculation about what might have happened. The emphasis is invariably on bad parenting, the very horror of having a dad doing cruel things such as this to his own child. No comments appear centering on the child who must be regarded as naughty but normal.

I suspect comments even distantly making the impression of shifting a percentage of guilt to the child won’t see the light of the day in the Japanese media; the Japanese family is sacrosanct, the very image of all that is good and healthy and the way it should be.

Despite this rosy picture, though, we are rarely being reminded of the possibility of a child that takes you to the edge many times over. There might come a moment where goodwill, forgiveness, hopes and fears become so stressed that something snaps and the parent loses his way. He sees his own heart turn cold. At that point, irrational outcomes are not far off.

None of this is meant to condone parental misconduct or the child’s behavior, but a case like this may point to the very profound need to find help for both a stressed parent and child at a much earlier stage. Is such help readily available? How can family members be convinced to seek it when in need? Who is working toward such ends?

Apart from being under the eye of the law, are the parents of the missing boy also being offered help?

Nick Maync
MITAKA, TOKYO

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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