'Non-existent children' fall through cracks because they've never been registered

By Jahanzaib Bin Liaquat
Correspondent, SAM Daily Times

TOKYO — Education ministry figures for last year show 5,877 children nationwide failing for one reason or another to attend elementary or junior high school. Of those, 1,191 – topping 1,000 for the first time – are listed as “whereabouts unknown.”

There was this girl who worked in the same fuzoku place as he did, R-san relates. She had a little boy who would’ve been in about grade five.

He seemed terrified at the very thought of leaving the room – a tiny room stripped of all but the most basic furniture. R’s friend was not the child’s mother. His real mother, also a fuzoku worker, got hooked on stimulant drugs and disappeared. R’s friend took the child under her wing and no doubt did her best under trying circumstances, but a child needs more. He never went to school.

No one has any idea what’s become of the 1,000-plus “disappeared children,” but the glimpse R caught of the one is suggestive.

Theoretically, it’s up to the school to check on children who are suddenly absent, but that usually means visiting the children’s homes. What can the school do when there is no home to visit?

But all she escaped to was another fuzoku establishment. Spa! talks to her current boss. “Her daughter isn’t in school,” he says. “The mother is incredibly insecure. She doesn’t mistreat the girl, but she looks about three – she’s tiny and hardly talks at all. More than school, what she needs is institutional care.” But there is no indication she’s going to get it.


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