Table Speech

“Children Without a Home to Return To” 

April 18, 2007

Ms. Setsuko Tsuboi,
Non-Profit Organization, Carillon Children’s Center

Since 1985, Tokyo Bengoshi-kai is engaged in the activities of lawyers to meet and help the children who are suffering from mistreatment, child-abuse and other difficult situations. I have been working as a counselor on this matter for the past twenty years.

I would like to tell the case of a girl which taught me a very serious lesson.
The girl was sixteen years old. She was arrested because she breached the law on narcotics. According to the direction of Family Court, I became the attendant of her and went to see her.

Answering my questions, she told me that she started to use narcotics when she was in second grade of the middle school. I asked her why she started to use narcotics. She answered she had many things she did not want to see. After meeting her many times, I learned her difficult life.

She was the eldest daughter of three girls in a family. Her father was drunk often and took violent actions to his wife and children, but the children could not escape from it.

As the children could not live away from the parents, it is difficult to find the cases of mistreatment of the children.

When she reached grade five, she left home and spent time in town. She felt lonely and she met people who told her to take narcotics. When she reached the age of attending junior high at around 16 years old, she skipped classes, smoked cigarettes, took narcotics, did prostitution and did everything against the rules of the society.

Hearing what she told me, I could only say “Though you say nobody cares about you, please believe me that I sincerely care about you and wish you to live a proper life.”

At first, she did not understand what I was saying but she started to have contact with me. She was sent to the reformatory and later she was released at the age of 16. She really had a hard time then. She could not find a proper place to work or live. She really had a hard time but finally she married and has four children. She said to me “I met you, Ms. Tsuboi, and people of Reformatory when I was a child, and I was taught how people should live.

Therefore I have become a normal human being by and by.” She is a star of my hope now. She went through all kinds of evil and crime as a child.

I face the problem of finding a place to sleep for a child often. Such a child could become a criminal. Therefore as lawyers concerned with the problem of child care, we wish to have a shelter urgently.

The Committee on Human Rights of Children and Law of Children of Tokyo Bengoshi-Kai performed play “Lost Wing” series every year, commemorating the conclusion of the Treaty on Human Rights of Children of the United Nations in 1994.

On September 2002, the number nine production, “Here, Carillon Children Center” was performed.

The story of the play was a story of the children who have no place to go seek help to the facility of publicly supported law office for the children with a shelter for the children. I wrote the scrip of this play.

Taking advantage of the performance of this play, lawyers who helped to perform this play and people who saw this play wanted to build actual “Carillon Child Center”. One and a half year later, thanks to the goodwill of many people and help of many companies and groups, the dream came true. On June 2004, NPO “Carillon Child Center” was open and privately owned shelter was completed and the activities started.

When a phone call comes to Center of Human Rights of Children of Bengoshikai, the lawyer in charge of children will answer immediately and the lawyer in charge of Carillon will help the child if the urgent help is necessary.

During the past three years, 76 children between the ages of 13 and 20 were helped by the Center. Three fourth of the children were girls. Those who could return to the parents are only 30%. We dreamed of building a home of self-supporting type and self supporting home for the boys only “Carillon House of Doors” was open in April, year before last. Last March, “Carillon Evening Light” was open for the girls.

“Don’t worry. You are not alone. Let’s think together. You are valuable people for us.” This is the message from Carillon to the children. In Aichi and Yokohama, shelters for the children were open April this year.

Carillon is the name of musical instrument playing bells at churches. I wish your understanding and support so that the Carillon will ring and put the lights of hope in the heart of the struggling children.